July Peach Pulse: New releases, celebrating 10, and more Medicaid

New release!
My Health Resource Guide

GHF has a new resource available to help consumers navigate the often confusing health care, health insurance, and social services systems. Included in the guide are sections about health insurance, finding a health care provider, and accessing mental health and substance use treatment services. The guide also points consumers to social services that fulfill other basic needs like transportation to and from health appointments, housing and food assistance, and legal support. A printable pdf version of the My Health Resource Guide is available below.

Celebrating 10!
Join us for GHF’s 10th anniversary celebration!

On September 6th, GHF will be kicking off our 10th anniversary celebration at the Consumer Health Impact Awards. In keeping with this very special occasion, we will be recognizing the work of four exceptional awardees who have made strides for countless Georgia consumers. We invite you to join us for this inspiring and festive evening! Don’t miss it!

Sponsorship opportunities are available

GHF welcomes new board member
Dr. Jean O’Connor joins GHF’s board of directors

Dr. Jean O’Connor is a consultant for the Task Force for Global Health on chronic and other non-communicable diseases, and previously served as the chronic disease prevention director and chief policy officer for the Georgia Department of Public Health. She brings to GHF an expertise in population health improvement, a passion for improving the systems and policies that influence health outcomes, and a deep resume of health policy accomplishments. Please join us in welcoming Dr. O’Connor to the GHF board of directors!

On GHF’s blog
Coverage saves lives

Queenesther recently underwent surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy that was causing severe health issues and could have proved fatal. Thanks to her Medicaid coverage she received timely, quality care and has been able to focus on caring for her young family. Queenesther is fortunate compared to many low-income parents because the state legislature has so far refused to extend health coverage to most low-income parents. Read more of Queenesther’s story and see how sharing your story can make an impact!


GHF hosts new health advocacy training in Atlanta

Georgians for a Healthy Future hosted a Georgia Voices for Medicaid training this month in partnership with the Central Outreach & Advocacy Center.  The Georgia Voices for Medicaid trainings are designed to give participants the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for timely, important health care issues impacting Georgians. If you were unable to attend, catch up on with our latest blog post. You can also join us for our next training event in Athens or contact Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org or 404-567-5016, ext. 2 to schedule a training in your community.

GHF in the news

Federal funding for ACA ‘navigators’ to drop dramatically in Georgia 
Georgia Health News | July 12, 2018



June Peach Pulse: Medicaid, advocacy trainings, and the Georgia Apex Program

Strengthening Medicaid for all Georgians
Georgians can’t afford to wait

Teresa is one of the 240,000 Georgians who fall in the coverage gap. Because she has been uninsured since 2009, Teresa has to find alternative treatments for a serious dental condition that she developed five years ago. Earlier this month, Virginia voted to extend health insurance coverage to people like Teresa. Georgia’s Governor and state legislature can follow suit and close our state’s coverage gap at any time. Read more about Teresa’s story and five other great reasons that Georgia should follow Virginia’s example on our blog.



Become a voice for Medicaid in Georgia

Georgians for a Healthy Future is partnering with community groups across the state to host a series of Georgia Voices for Medicaid trainings. You can attend if you are interested in learning more about Georgia’s Medicaid program, who it covers, how it benefits the state, and how you can be a strong health care advocate. Join us for one of these upcoming trainings:

  • Thursday, July 19th, 2:00 – 3:30 pm in downtown Atlanta
  • Friday, August 10, 9:30 am – 11:00 am at the Athens Clarke County Library in Athens, GA

Don’t see a training near you? Email Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org to schedule a training in your community.



Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies
Get to know the Georgia Apex Program

Some of the state’s recent $21.9 million investment in children’s mental health will fund an expansion of the Georgia Apex Program, a school-based mental health program that aims to improve early identification of, access to and coordination of behavioral health services for students who need them. The Apex Program has demonstrated strong, positive results in its initial two years. Get to know the Georgia Apex Program in GHF’s newest post from our Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies blog series.



Federal government continues to attack consumer health care and coverage

Threats to health coverage and consumer protections continue to emerge from the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new rule to increase access to association health plans and is expected to release another shortly that expands short-term limited duration plans. Both rules put consumers at risk by increasing access to skimpy insurance plans without robust protections and pushing up premiums for those with pre-existing conditions who need more comprehensive coverage. The federal government’s actions in two court cases also threaten coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and for adults covered by Medicaid. GHF will continue to monitor these developments and will communicate how they may impact you and your family.



Powerhouse Policymaker Awardees Announced!
Help us celebrate these deserving policymakers!

The Powerhouse Policymaker Awards are given each year to local or state policymakers in Georgia who have exhibited excellence and courage in championing health issues in public policy. This year’s awardees are state Representative Bob Trammell and Georgia Department of Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry!  Read more about our award recipients here and stay tuned for more awardee announcements soon.

We hope you will join us on September 6th to celebrate these champions for health! Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available.



GHF in the news

Trump administration rule allows cheaper, skimpier health plans 

Atlanta Journal Constitution  |  June 19, 2018





Peach Pulse: May 2018

Save the date! 

Celebrate our 10-year anniversary at this year’s Consumer Health Impact Awards

Mark your calendar for the fourth annual Consumer Health Impact Awards on Thursday, September 6th at the Venetian Room! We will celebrate GHF’s 10th year of advocating for Georgia’s health care consumers and spotlight the great work of health advocates and policymakers making a difference. Announcements about this year’s awardees will be made next month. Please plan to join us in September!

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Strategic Plan 2018-2020

GHF adopts new strategic plan ahead of 10-year anniversary

Georgians for a Healthy Future celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year! Prompted in part by this milestone, our leadership launched a new strategic planning effort to chart a path forward for the next phase of GHF’s work. We are excited to share the results with you! We hope that you will find inspiration in our new strategic plan and we invite you to take and active role in helping us achieve the success we have envisioned. To read more about our 2018-2020 strategic plan, check out or newest blog post or download the plan today. 


Medicaid Matters for Moms
Two moms, two Medicaid stories

Thanks to Medicaid, Valerie can take care of the health care needs of her three children. Without Medicaid and left in Georgia’s coverage gap, Susie struggles to manage a cancer diagnosis and other health conditions, while caring for her granddaughter full time.

Mother’s Day might be over but Medicaid remains an important asset for some Georgia moms and their kids, while others remain uninsured because of Georgia’s inaction to extend the program. See the difference Medicaid makes in the lives of the extraordinary moms. Read more about Valerie and Susie’s experience on our blog or share their stories on Facebook or Twitter.

Your story is powerful! Share your health care story with us today!

In Case You Missed It
GHF hosts educational forum about children’s behavioral health

On Tuesday, May 15th, GHF hosted Strong Foundations: Building a System of Care to Address the Behavioral Health Needs of Georgia Children. The forum explored the behavioral health needs of Georgia children and youth, Georgia’s publicly-supported behavioral health landscape, and successes and opportunities in the current system of care. In conjunction with the event, GHF released a new behavioral health fact sheet titled Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, available for download here.

If you missed the event, a recording of the webcast is available here.

To see photos, review materials, and read more about our Strong Foundations event, please visit the event page.

Get Involved

Learn, engage, participate

GHF needs you to make a difference! Join us in shaping the landscape for a healthier Georgia. Your time, donations, and advocacy make the difference in mobilizing consumers for change and crafting policy that works for Georgia consumers. Volunteering with Georgians for a Healthy Future provides an opportunity to raise your voice, connect with like-minded people, and make a difference on the health issues that matter most to you. Inspired to take action? Volunteerdonateadvocate, or contact Michelle Conde at mconde@healthyfuturega.org.


Peach Pulse: April 2018

The Fight to Prevent Youth Substance Use
Power of prevention: A new opportunity for providers to address youth substance use

As a result of sustained advocacy efforts by GHF and the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, Georgia’s Medicaid agency has made an exciting change that will help prevent and identify substance use disorders among Georgia youth and others with Medicaid coverage. The change allows health care providers to use Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral of Treatment (SBIRT), an evidence-based, public health approach that is used to initiate conversations about substance use behaviors, guide follow-up counseling, and connect people to treatment if needed. Because Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids cover half of all Georgia youth, increasing access to SBIRT may significantly decrease substance use among young Georgians and help stem the tide of the opioid epidemic in the state. Read more about SBIRT and this beneficial policy change on our blog.

Are you a health care provider and want to know how you can use SBIRT in your practice? Check out our new fact sheet.

Upcoming Events
Strong Foundations: Building a System of Care to Address Behavioral Health Needs of Georgia Children

Please join GHF on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 from 8:30am – 12:00pm for a discussion of children’s behavioral health in Georgia. Presenters and panelists will provide a variety of perspectives and expertise to help attendees understand Georgia’s system of care, learn about services and programs available to young Georgians with behavioral health needs, and recognize opportunities to strengthen the system through collaboration. Join us in person or via webcast for this exciting and important event!


Why Medicaid Matters
For Travis, Medicaid means employment and giving back to the community

Travis suffered from a series of strokes when he was 11 years old that left him with several physical disabilities. Because he is one of the 250,000 Georgians with disabilities to be covered by Medicaid, Travis is able to work and be an advocate. Medicaid is essential to ensuring that people with disabilities, like Travis, are able to lead fulfilling, independent lives as active participants in their communities. Read more about Travis’s experience on our blog or share his story onFacebook or Twitter.

Your story is powerful! Share your health care story with us today!


In Case You Missed It
Webinar: Recap of the Georgia legislative session

The 2018 Georgia legislative session ended on March 29th and with it came changes to health care and coverage in Georgia. GHF partnered with the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute to provide you with a recap of what bills and resolutions passed and which didn’t during the session. In addition to successful legislation, we discussed this year’s relevant study committees, and examined the state budget, including important items for health advocates and consumers. If you missed the webinar, you can catch up by watching the archived recording here.


Peach Pulse: March 2018


Appropriations Health Subcommittee Heard HB 669, Discussed Bi-partisan Desire to Increase Access to Care

Tuesday morning the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee met for a hearing about HB 669, a bill that would close Georgia’s coverage gap by extending health insurance to low-income Georgians as allowed by the Affordable Care Act. Minority Leader Bob Trammell presented the bill to the committee and outlined how the bill would bolster economic activity in rural Georgia, increase access to care for low-income Georgians, and be a smart investment of tax-payer dollars. Committee members asked questions about the bill’s impact on people with mental health conditions and the costs and savings of the bill, and all expressed a desire to find a common solution to Georgia’s high uninsured rate and barriers to health care. No vote was taken on HB 669, so the bill remains in the House Appropriations Health subcommittee.

We are hopeful that this hearing will prompt continued conversation about closing the coverage gap. You can help by thanking the members of the committee and asking them to ensure the conversation moves forward towards a solution. Contact them now!

Rep. Butch Parrish – Chairman
Email: butch.parrish@house.ga.gov
Rep. Lee Hawkins – Vice Chair
Phone: 404.656.0213
Email: lee.hawkins@house.ga.gov
Rep. Pat Gardner
Phone: 404.656.0265
Email: pat@patgardner.org
Rep. Carolyn Hugley
Phone: 404.656.5058
Email: carolyn.hugley@house.ga.gov
Rep. Ron Stephens
Phone: 404.656.5115
Email: ron.stephens@house.ga.gov
Rep. Darlene Taylor
Phone: 404.656.7857
Email: darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov

For a more detailed account of the hearing make sure to check our latest blog post by clicking here.


Georgia legislative session ends next week


Georgia’s state legislative session is winding down as Sine Die (the last day of the session) approaches on March 29th. With this deadline approaching, some health care bills have seen significant changes and others have been successfully passed. Check out the most recent developments by reading our latest legislative update here. In the final days of the 2018 session, expect to see continued debate over how to best address substance use and recovery, the behavioral health needs of students, surprise out of network medical bills, tobacco taxation and regulation, and more.

REGISTER NOW! Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and Georgians for a Healthy Future will be presenting “Changes in Health Care and Policy in the 2018 Georgia Legislative Session” on Thursday, April 19th at 10:00 AM. Register here.


Congressional debates over health care continue as part of spending negotiations





Over the last month or so, Congress has been focused on spending negotiations in order to pass a spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of the year and avoid a government shutdown. Health care continues to be a major topic in these conversations, especially in the Senate where activity surrounds efforts to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance Marketplace. There is little agreement among Senate Republicans and Democrats about how to accomplish the shared goal of lowering health insurance premiums for health care consumers who purchase their coverage through the Marketplace; however, discussions are on-going.

Congress is scheduled to be on recess March 24-April 8.


GHF and Step Up Savannah co-host health advocacy training!





GHF and Step Up Savannah are partnering to host a health advocacy training on Tuesday, April 3rd. The event will be held at 6 pm at the United Way building at 428 Bull Street, Savannah, Ga. Participants will learn how they can participate and lead health advocacy efforts and recieve information about passing health advocacy issues in Georgia. Representatives from Healthy Savannah and Safety Net will also be in attendance to share local resources. If you live in and around Savannah and would like to attend the training, contact Robyn Wainner, Director at Step Up Savannah, 912.232.6747, rwainner@stepupsavannah.org.

Interested in hosting a similar training in your community? We want to partner with you to make that happen! Contact Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org for more information.

Michelle Conde joins GHF staff



GHF welcomed Michelle Conde as its new Communications & Special Projects Manager in early March. In this role, Michelle will manage GHF’S external communication channels (email, social media, earned media) and leverage social media for digital advocacy. She will also provide policy research support as needed and contribute to the organization’s policy analysis efforts. We are so pleased to have Michelle join the GHF team. For more on Michelle and for her contact information, click here.

Bill Would Let ‘Micro-Hospitals’ in Rural Georgia Counties

WABE  |  March 16, 2018

Nurse sponsors bill critics say would ease sales of tobacco in Georgia

Atlanta Journal Constitution  |  February 27, 2018