Archive for September, 2012

Electronic medical records

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The spread of electronic medical records has at least one Atlanta doctor concerned about the accuracy of information on patient files and the effect of faulty info on potential malpractice. A top Emory doctor and administrator says the system is not perfect, but patients are far safer with complete  medical histories available on computer.

Commenting is open below William Bornstein’s column.

By Melody T. McCloud

Because someone rammed her SUV into my car, this physician-surgeon has, of late, been a patient at physicians’ offices and outpatient surgical centers. While medical sights and sounds don’t scare me, something about electronic medical records does.

I love my profession. I am a stickler for accuracy, and I like reviewing patient charts. I’ve always secured a copy of my own medical records: I like being an informed patient. It was sometimes difficult to decipher doctors’ scribble, but I could note the accurate documentation of my …

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Innovators, inventors, investors

Moderated by Rick Badie

Attention innovators, inventors and investors: The city of Atlanta wants you to succeed and has launched a program to help get you there. Start Up Atlanta, an initiative launched this summer, aims to stimulate business development and expand the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, the CEO of the city’s economic development arm touts the program while a woman business owner explains the need for gender-specific networking.

Commenting is open below following Angela Stalcup’s essay.

By Brian McGowan

Mayor Kasim Reed and Invest Atlanta want to start up Atlanta’s economy by supporting, celebrating, and accelerating entrepreneurship.

Start-up companies and the entrepreneurs who launch them are the engines of job creation and economic growth. All net new job growth in the United States occurs through start-up firms that develop organically. When it comes to job creation, economic development initiatives tend to focus on attracting new business, which …

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Are malls dying?

Moderated by Rick Badie

The struggles of some shopping malls here (such as Gwinnett Place in Duluth and Southlake in Morrow) and across the nation have been well-documented. Shopping centers can struggle financially when demographics change, anchor stores pack up and move, specialty shops lack appeal or spending patterns reflect a dull economy. Today, a mall real estate specialist and a local revitalization executive weigh the challenges and the future facing these retail destinations.

By Michael P. Glimcher

The death of the mall has been proclaimed over and over. Many thought it couldn’t weather the recession or would crumble from online retail. However, to say the mall will die is to underestimate that consumers are resilient, the mall is adaptable and people love to shop.

Malls remain highly-valued fortress-like assets. Mall real estate investment trusts are able to draw equity from top institutional investors attracted to stable cash flows from long-term leases that …

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Private operations for MARTA?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Following the failed transportation tax referendum — and with a major audit of MARTA about to become public — one local leader says the transit system requires a transformation through funding and governance. Privatization is not a panacea, but should be carefully explored. Another expert writes flatly that MARTA went wrong favoring rail over buses, and privatization would save $400 million.

Commenting is open below following Randal O’Toole’s column.

By Doug Stoner

There is little doubt in the minds of most that an efficient and cost-effective public transit system is necessary in a region the size of metro Atlanta. Most Atlantans are also familiar with the history of our transit system — transportation, after all, is what put our great city on the map for business and residential growth.

For too long, MARTA has remained underfunded and underused. Only two of our region’s counties pay into the system. The state does not directly contribute to …

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Time for solutions for Georgia

The Georgia Forward event in Athens gathered 225 people from across the state who acknowledge common problems. That’s a start. Now, let’s generate great ideas to solve them.

By the AJC Editorial Board

What unites us is far greater than what divides us. This year’s Georgia Forward forum provided compelling anecdotal proof of that powerful truth. From Americus to Augusta, commonsense and conversations affirm that we generally all desire similar outcomes for our families and communities.

With a renewed focus, hard work and greater cooperation and collaboration, we can begin moving vision to reality and create a more-prosperous Georgia.

This public policy ideal was solidly in the midst of roughly 225 civic-minded types who attended the Georgia Forward event in Athens earlier this month.

The need for collaboration is made readily apparent by the U.S. Census Bureau’s report showing Georgia having the nation’s fifth-highest poverty rate. We’ve got work to do, both as a …

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Honey Boo Boo just like us

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Obesity in Georgia and Reality TV have come together with Honey Boo Boo. In today’s weekly Saturday column, a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta leader says the eating habits of the junk-food junior are not far from our own. Commenting is open below the column.

By Stephanie Walsh

“Honey Boo Boo” and her over-the-top reality TV family have struck a nerve with Georgians. Locals are cringing with concern that the nation might view this family as an accurate portrayal of our state. However, based on the children and families we see at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the truth is that Honey Boo Boo and her family’s health habits may be more of the norm in Georgia than everyone would like to believe.

We’ve seen Honey Boo Boo’s mom give her a sugary concoction of Mountain Dew and Red Bull they call “Go-Go Juice,” the family fights over “fat cakes” (packaged snack cakes) and at dinner she orders two sides of meat with her meal of meat. We …

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Budget cuts vs. Georgia Archives

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The planned closing — for the most part — of the Georgia Archives has outraged many. Defenders call the archive a cornerstone of democracy. Yet officials plan to curtail hours to meet budget cuts, making Georgia the only state where the public lacks full-time access to thousands of records. An archive supporter and the secretary of state discuss the decision.

Archive  faces death by a thousand cuts

By Timothy J. Crimmins

When Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced the all-but-complete closing of the Georgia Archives to public access last week, he unleashed a firestorm of protest. Acting quickly to quell the reaction, on Tuesday he ordered the firing of seven of the nine professionals at the archive . If Secretary Kemp is allowed to carry out his plan, every Georgian will suffer.

Genealogists and historians are seen as the natural constituents of the archive , but all citizens must be concerned because public access to records is vital for open …

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Beverage ban beats obesity?

Moderated by Rick Badie

The obesity battle made headlines recently when McDonald’s announced a menu makeover that includes calorie counts and New York City placed a 16-ounce size limit on non-diet sodas and sweet drinks. The burden of obesity looms large in Georgia, which ranks second for childhood obesity. Today’s writers debate the effectiveness of the calorie campaign and sugar war.

Commenting is open below Margo Wootan’s column.

An ill-advised move

By Karen Bremer

The notion of freedom of choice is essentially American. We choose our elected officials with votes and in our economic system, we vote with our dollars. But what happens when our voice and our choice become limited? Two recent stories about issues impacting our restaurant industry made headlines. One infringes on freedom of choice by telling guests what they can and can’t buy. The other promotes choice by equipping diners to make informed decisions.

A beverage ban approved by the New York City Board of …

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Home ownership still a good investment?

Moderated by Rick Badie

The American Dream has morphed into a nightmare for many metro Atlanta homeowners. Some observers, like the college law professor who writes today, question whether homeownership is all it’s cracked up to be and suggest the nation rethink its quest for owning homes. An executive for a nonprofit credit counseling agency, however, challenges such notions and calls homeownership a solid, long-term financial investment.

Home ownership has risks

By Mechele Dickerson

Many Americans believe that you haven’t achieved the American Dream until you own a home.

For decades, the U.S. has enacted housing policies that advance and heavily subsidize homeownership to make sure people believe the road to riches must end at your own home.

Given the economic realities most Americans currently face, these homeownership beliefs are fundamentally flawed.

Homeownership is said to be a good thing because it makes people thrifty, responsible and financially secure. …

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Speed limits rising

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Georgia Department of Transportation is looking at raising the limit from 55 to 65 on I-285. In Texas, the nation’s first 85 mph speed limit is planned for a 41-mile toll road between Austin and San Antonio. A local policy analyst argues that increased speed doesn’t necessarily mean more accidents and fatalities. A national safety expert says drivers automatically go over current limits and the statistics don’t bode well for healthy travel at higher speeds.

Commenting is open below Adrian Lund’s column.

By Benita M. Dodd

Most Georgians who travel the long, watch-paint-dry stretch that is I-16 between Savannah and Macon understand the unwritten rule:

You may exceed the posted speed limit of 70 mph, but not by more than 9 mph. If law enforcement clocks you at 80 mph or over, you’re toast.

In Texas, transportation officials acknowledge this reality and want to profit from it. In their case, they’re not just seeking revenue from speeding …

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