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Happy Holidays!
December 2012


 As we celebrate the season of giving, we at Georgia Watch pause to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to opportunities in the new year to be a powerful voice for Georgia consumers.


The Georgia Watch staff and board wish you peace and joy this holiday season.



Elena Small Signature

Elena Parent
Executive Director
Georgia Watch has an updated website 

We're  kicking off the next 10 years with a fresh, new look! We'll be launching an entirely new website sometime next year. In the meantime, we've upated our site with new features, new information and our new logo.


Please pay us a visit when you have a chance! 
Tis the season to beware of identify thieves

December is Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. With the holiday season upon us, consumers should be mindful of more than just long check-out lines at department stores and traffic jams. The holidays are a season for criminals. Large crowds, full parking lots and people carrying lots of bags are all conditions which make consumers vulnerable, especially seniors, to the craftiness of skilled identity thieves. Below are a few safety tips to help protect you and your family from holiday crime.

Watch out for your money.

    • Carry small amounts of cash and only one credit card in your wallet. Consider keeping a record of your credit card number and contact information in case you need to cancel the card.
    • When paying by credit card, never allow clerks to put your receipts in your bag. Instead, carry receipts in your wallets where they will be safer and are less likely to fall out of the bags.
    • Use a gel ink pen, preferably black, to write checks. The ink will permeate the fibers and make it difficult for the check to be cleaned and reused.

Watch out for online purchase frauds.

    • When shopping online, be careful of using "free Wi-Fi" internet connections. Only use wireless connections that require a security password to access the internet.
    • Never give your personal information, especially your Social Security Number, to online stores.
    • Only shop on secure and reputable websites. Secure websites start with "https" and include a small padlock icon.

Watch out for your accounts. 

    • Use a credit card and not a debit card when shopping this holiday season. Debit cards make it harder for you to get funds back and give thieves direct access to your bank accounts.
    • Regularly check your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports.  Monitoring your accounts often is the fastest way to catch fraudulent and suspicious activities.

Source:  Identity Crimes Unit of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

Board's actions may limit access to needed care

The Georgia Composite Medical Board is currently considering a rule regulating the use of telemedicine by physicians, advanced practice registered nurses (nurse practitioners), and physician assistants. A key provision of the proposed rule would require that nurse practitioners and physician assistants only provide medical care via telephone or internet technology after the "supervising or delegating physician has seen or examined the patient in person or has provided the initial treatment or consultation for the patient via electronic or other such means."  Georgia Watch is concerned this rule would further limit access to care in rural areas, could even harm patients in need of care, and is inconsistent with the intent of the Georgia Telemedicine Act. 


On November 30, Georgia Watch, joined by other health advocates, submitted a letter to the medical board asking them to reconsider this rule. "The proposed rule moves Georgia in the wrong direction," commented Health Access Program Director Bill Rencher. "Already faced with medical provider shortages, Georgia needs healthcare policy that broadens access to qualified providers, not restricts it." Georgia Watch opposes the proposed rule for numerous reasons, including:


  • Georgia has a well-documented, insufficient supply of primary healthcare providers, especially in rural and medically underserved areas, and the proposed rule imposes broad restrictions on the use of the rapidly advancing technologies of telemedicine and its great potential for addressing the problems of limited access to providers.
  • The Georgia Legislature specifically intended for telemedicine to be used to increase rather than limit access to care when it passed the Georgia Telemedicine Act in 2005.
  • The proposed rule is unnecessary because state law already restricts nurse practitioners and physician assistants to the scope of practice agreed to by their supervising physician. The supervising physician is in the best position to determine that scope of practice, which may or may not include telemedicine.

At the medical board's  hearing on Thursday, December 6, the board voted to postpone a decision until January to study the issue further. Read AJC coverage of the story here.

Clark Howard says to support Georgia Watch!
For the past ten years, Georgia Watch has represented your interests, not special interests. We're here to ensure that Georgians get a fair shake and aren't taken advantage of. To keep doing this work for the next ten years and beyond, we need your support.


As Georgia Watch board member Clark Howard says, Georgia Watch is "the only bona fide group in Georgia looking out for consumers" and a donation to Georgia Watch is "double the bang for your buck, because you're helping a great organization that's working for you and you get savings back on your income tax."


Every donation counts and is fully tax deductible. Donate today!