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Georgia’s Leaders Reveal Top Health Concerns


  Kristina Heuman
Porter Novelli

                   Healthcare Georgia Foundation Grant Probes State Leaders About Health Issues

Atlanta, Georgia – April 11, 2006 – Georgia leaders cited health care costs, access to quality health
care and lack of consumer health education as major health concerns for Georgians. Healthcare
Georgia Foundation released today, Health Matters: Voices of Georgia’s Leadership, the report
of the Foundation’s 2005 Listening Tour, which revealed consensus among state leaders on
health issues but differences in approaches to financing health care in the state.

To gain a deeper understanding of the health issues facing Georgia, the Foundation awarded a
grant to Porter Novelli, a public relations firm specializing in social marketing and research, to
interview more than 60 business and community leaders, elected officials and health providers
across the state on their perceptions of the health issues and opportunities facing Georgians.

“The Listening Tour took the pulse of Georgia leaders and revealed their concerns about the state
of health and health care in Georgia,” said Healthcare Georgia Foundation President Dr. Gary

When asked what health issues they consider most pressing, leaders expressed concern about the
rising cost of health care, lack of access to quality health care and the need to improve health
behaviors among Georgians. Business and community leaders also stressed the importance of
providing health care for Georgia’s aging population, investing in consumer health education and
improving the quality of health care.

The greatest opportunities for progress identified in Health Matters included expansion of access
to quality health care, improvements in patient safety and investments in disease prevention and
health promotion programs.

Leaders had divergent views about strategies for funding health care. Some supported greater
government funding for health care, with varying degrees of responsibility at the local, state and
federal levels. Others viewed health and health care financing as the primary responsibility of
the individual. A third cluster of Listening Tour participants believed that individuals,
communities and government all play roles in financing health care.

“The responsibility for developing solutions to Georgia’s health care challenges does not rest
with one group alone – it is collective leadership focused on meaningful reforms that will ensure
that our communities and families are healthier,” said Dr. Nelson. “These findings call for a
statewide dialogue on the best approaches to addressing the accessibility, affordability, quality
and cost of health care in Georgia. We view this dialogue as our next step in catalyzing real
improvements in the health of all Georgians.”

About Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, private independent foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities. Through its strategic grantmaking, Healthcare Georgia Foundation supports organizations that drive positive change, promotes programs that improve health and healthcare among underserved individuals and communities, and connects people, partners and resources across Georgia. For more information, please visit the Foundation online at: