Archive for December, 2012

‘Silver Rights’ for the underserved

Moderated by Rick Badie

Too many of us would either flunk or barely pass a grading of our personal financial literacy. Many of Atlanta’s business leaders are aware of the problem and support various efforts to strengthen the region’s consumer literacy rates and put folks in control of their money and lives. Today, SunTrust CEO Jenner Wood writes about the commitment by leaders across Georgia to educate consumers. I highlight the HOPE Financial Dignity Center located at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

A mission for ‘Silver Rights’

By Rick Badie

On Nov. 14, hundreds of people gathered at the Operation HOPE Financial Dignity Center to celebrate the opening of the Atlanta complex. The nonprofit’s work to advance financial literacy and economic empowerment, though, had begun long before the ribbon-cutting ceremony. More than 1,200 people had already participated in workshops and services at various locales.

The center’s location — the anchor tenant of the Martin …

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Solving problems requires focus on fixes: Opposition to health care law in Georgia and elsewhere won’t help the 1 in 5 Georgians who lack insurance

By Donna Looper

In the early days of our nation’s history, the Founding Fathers wrote a constitution and created a system of government with limited powers. The poor would be cared for by charities or religious organizations — groups established as safety nets for those in need.
It is only with the vast expansion of federal and state governments during the last 50 years that we have seen a crowding out of the role of charities — from good works that nonprofits do from housing and feeding the poor to volunteer physicians and nurses who give medical care to the sick.
As Americans continue to debate the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in the states, policymakers and citizens should remember there is a partner available to help care for Georgia’s poor and uninsured: the state’s more than 100 charity care clinics.
Staffed with volunteer physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other health care personnel, these charity clinics help these patients …

Continue reading Solving problems requires focus on fixes: Opposition to health care law in Georgia and elsewhere won’t help the 1 in 5 Georgians who lack insurance »

Charity clinics should be part of serving the uninsured

By Donna Looper

In the early days of our nation’s history, the Founding Fathers wrote a constitution and created a system of government with limited powers. The poor would be cared for by charities or religious organizations — groups established as safety nets for those in need.
It is only with the vast expansion of federal and state governments during the last 50 years that we have seen a crowding out of the role of charities — from good works that nonprofits do from housing and feeding the poor to volunteer physicians and nurses who give medical care to the sick.
As Americans continue to debate the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in the states, policymakers and citizens should remember there is a partner available to help care for Georgia’s poor and uninsured: the state’s more than 100 charity care clinics.
Staffed with volunteer physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other health care personnel, these charity clinics help these patients …

Continue reading Charity clinics should be part of serving the uninsured »

Imperfect health care law holds promise

By Stephen Reid

The prevailing belief is that President Obama’s win will propel the Affordable Care Act (ACA) forward with little delay. Democrats tout the legislation as essential to addressing a broken health care system that results in the U.S. spending twice as much as most developed countries on health care while leaving 50 million people without coverage. Republicans cite the ACA as a job killer.
Beyond the rhetoric, both parties have failed to accept their responsibility to make the health care system work to keep us healthy. The legislation that is now the law of the land will fill some immediate gaps in coverage that have allowed the cost of uncompensated care to skyrocket (Uncompensated care cost Georgia hospitals $1.5 billion in 2010), forcing many hospitals out of business. But the full benefit of the law will have to overcome a few hurdles that will not be easily dismissed. Among them:
• Getting young people to sign up: The penalty for not acquiring insurance …

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Women’s healthcare

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The longtime president of Planned Parenthood in Atlanta is set to retire after 32 years in Atlanta. Kay Scott talks about the women’s health organization, which provides exams and services for thousands of residents through eight health centers across three states. She also addresses the conservative opposition and political fire Planned Parenthood receives due to its role as an abortion provider and advocate for reproductive health issues. In our second column, a leader of Georgia Right to Life writes about the so-called war on women.

Commenting is open below Sherri Nelson’s column.

By Tom Sabulis

On Dec. 28, Kay Scott, 67, officially retires as president/CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast. Her departure marks the end of a 35-year career — she spent three years at Planned Parenthood in Austin, Texas — fighting for women’s health issues. From her downtown Atlanta office, she had some final things to say:

Thoughts upon leaving Planned …

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Fiscal cliff deal: What do we need?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Democrats and Republicans must get the nation’s financial house in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Lead negotiators for the parties blame the other side for the current impasse. House Republicans, such as Georgia Rep. Tom Price, say they want to work in good faith to raise additional tax revenue without raising rates. DeKalb County Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson pledges to do what’s best for the middle class.

House Republicans stand by taxpayers

By Tom Price

The New Year is steadily approaching, and with it, the “fiscal cliff.” If Congress and President Barack Obama take no action, taxes will rise on all Americans. And the only thing standing between your family and a devastating tax increase is House Republicans.

House Republicans have worked in good faith, agreeing in principle to a plan that reforms the tax code by lowering rates, broadening the base and closing special-interest loopholes. These pro-growth policies would generate …

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Fraud in the private and nonprofit sector

Moderated by Rick Badie

As we learned last week, nonprofit organizations aren’t immune from employee fraud. Employee misconduct at the Woodruff Arts Center is reported to have resulted in the cultural organization being defrauded of $1.438 million over the last five years; a former administrator is accused of submitting invoices for phony services. Today’s topic: fraud in the nonprofit and for-profit sector. A CPA says small businesses are always vulnerable to embezzlement, but especially so in tough economies. A watchdog group director writes about the pervasiveness of nonprofit fraud.

Workers cheat charities

By Gary Snyder

Nonprofit fraud is pervasive.

The latest estimate is that it is a $51 billion business. It affects medium, large and small charities. With $2.7 trillion in assets, the charitable sector is ripe for abuse. Few care. One study says charity fraud happens at almost twice the rate as for-profit fraud.

Nonprofit Imperative has documented abuses in such …

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Mischief, craziness and MARTA

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Following up on her Sunday AJC opinion column, MARTA General Manager Beverly Scott gives some departing thoughts about the agency as she leaves to run Boston’s transit system. She laments the lack of leadership in the General Assembly, while insisting progress has been made in the dialogue with state legislators. She welcomes ideas for private partnership, but says public oversight is crucial.

By Tom Sabulis

After five years, MARTA CEO/General Manager Beverly Scott is leaving Georgia’s major transit agency. She touched on several topics last week at MARTA headquarters in Atlanta:

What she wishes she knew about the job when she started:I would say the extent of the heavy lift. I thought that the region and state were more ready, that they had made the turn in terms of appreciating the value of transit. Everybody was so busy telling me how the challenge was going to be bringing the bacon home at the state level, and making it sound like the issue was …

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Reasons for arts optimism

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund’s annual awards luncheon is Thursday Dec. 6 (metroatlantaartsfund.org) at the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead.  The fund makes grants to small and midsized groups across the region. We asked director Lisa Cremin for her thoughts on the health of the local arts community.

Commenting is open below.

By Lisa Cremin

There is good cause for optimism about the arts in the Atlanta region. Mayor Reed has doubled the city’s modest arts and culture budget through the Office of Cultural Affairs. Gwinnett County now has ArtWorks! to promote the arts. Activity and philanthropy are emerging in new and exciting ways.

But while these are all great reasons to celebrate, I am talking about something different. New investors are recognizing that the arts make a place the place where people want to live. Take Louis Corrigan, who invests significant dollars in unlikely and delightful public interactions, seen in the neighborhoods, …

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New era at MARTA can open new opportunities for metro area

An end is a beginning.
In that sense, this month’s departure of MARTA CEO Beverly Scott marks the closure of a critical half-decade for the region’s backbone transit agency and the community it serves.
Which moves us to the opening lines of a new chapter in Atlanta’s ongoing transportation saga. Now’s a pivotal moment for this metropolitan area that hammered out for itself a global perch by audaciously seizing the future while competitors were out to lunch.
We can likewise maximize the present opportunity — and profit now, and down the road, as a result. Or we can fixate on the here and now — or worse yet, on the past — and squander the promise of a pivotal inflection point.
Every MARTA worker and resident here will be involved in crafting this narrative — really, a business plan of tomorrow for our town. We must accept no less an outcome than ending up with a game-changing, yet achievable, transportation strategy that all the world’s A-list players will …

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