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Piedmont Heart Institute partners with Cleveland Clinic

Piedmont Heart Institute partners with Cleveland Clinic

ATLANTA -- Piedmont Heart Institute has formed an alliance with the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at the renowned Cleveland Clinic.

The partnership will allow both organizations to raise their standards of cardiovascular care by sharing clinical policies, treatment protocols and research opportunities, according to a Piedmont Healthcare spokesperson.

"Teamwork is the next phase of American medicine. We're finding new ways to combine our strengths for better patient care," Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute chairman Dr. Lars Svensson said in a release. "This alliance will allow us to accelerate advancements in cardiac care."

Piedmont Heart operates 26 clinics across metro Atlanta. Visit piedmont.org for more information.

Ga. health rankings: Douglas County

Ga. health rankings: Douglas County

(WXIA) -- A new report offers detailed health statistics for each of Georgia's counties.

The findings, which are posted at countyhealthrankings.org, determined that Forsyth is Georgia's healthiest county. Early is the least healthy.

Douglas is Georgia's 27th healthiest county, according to the data. It ranks 43rd for quality of life, 25th for health behaviors (such as smoking and obesity), 66th for clinical care, 34th for social and economic factors (like graduation rates and violent crimes), and 125th for physical environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about Douglas County:

Red Cross needs blood and platelet donations

Red Cross needs blood and platelet donations

(WXIA) -- The American Red Cross urgently needs blood and platelet donations.

The recent rounds of winter weather that slammed much of the country forced the Red Cross to cancel more than 200 planned blood drives. It's the second shortfall this year; more than 26,400 donations went uncollected in early February, also thanks to weather.

"Blood products are being delivered to hospitals almost as quickly as they come in," said Jerry J.K. Tillery, CEO of the Red Cross's Alabama and Central Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico and Southern Blood Service Regions. "Donors who give now are just restocking our shelves; they are making sure hope continues to be available for patients in need."

Visit redcrossblood.org to find a donation location and schedule an appointment.

The Red Cross has also planned a number of blood drives in Douglas County:

Emory, WellStar in talks to create unified health system

Emory, WellStar in talks to create unified health system

ATLANTA -- WellStar Health System and Emory University have begun formal discussions about the possibility of creating a new, unified health system.

WellStar spokesperson Tyler Pearson said the new system would be formed by combining Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System. Discussions will continue for next 45 days, with a goal of creating an environment with the best of both community-based care and academic medicine.

"Our shared vision is to design one of the best health systems in the nation to serve local communities, the state of Georgia and beyond," WellStar Health System CEO Reynold J. Jennings said in a release. "The new system will be one of the most innovative and transformational healthcare systems in the industry."

A multi-step design process for the new health system will take about a year to complete.

LongHorn raising money for Pennies with Purpose

LongHorn raising money for Pennies with Purpose

(WXIA) -- Five Atlanta-area LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants will hold a Pennies with Purpose fundraiser next week.

On Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., LongHorn diners can add a voucher to their bills. The voucher ensures 10 percent of their checks will go to the charity.

Download the voucher at the Pennies with Purpose Facebook page or request one at any of the participating restaurants:

Acworth
3366 Cobb Parkway NW

Austell
1355 East-West Connector

Douglasville
8471 Hospital Drive

Hiram
4800 Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway

West Cobb
2636 Dallas Highway SW

Doctor sues Tanner Medical Center, alleges false billing

Doctor sues Tanner Medical Center, alleges false billing

VILLA RICA, Ga. -- Psychiatrist Randy Warner has sued Tanner Medical Center Inc. of Villa Rica, Ga., alleging Tanner falsely billed Georgia Medicaid for professional services he performed.

The lawsuit details 534 alleged false billing instances, from 2009 to 2012 that involved 178 indigent patients Tanner billed Medicaid for services Warner rendered. Civil penalties and damages are estimated to exceed $5 million.

Warner claims Tanner billed Medicaid and got payments for services he rendered at its Willowbrooke facility, even though he was not a Tanner employee. The medical facility had no authority to bill Medicaid but its actions consequently caused Warner’s legitimate billings to Medicaid to be denied, the suit alleges.

Eye care experts urge parents to leave fireworks to pros

Eye care experts urge parents to leave fireworks to pros

ATLANTA -- Thousands of Georgia parents are buying sparklers for their children this Fourth of July, thinking they are a safe way to celebrate. But, as a Georgia eye expert warns, sparklers heat up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to melt some metals -- and are the number one cause of fireworks injuries requiring trips to the emergency room.

Members of the Georgia Optometric Association are urging parents to leave all the fireworks to the professionals and avoid fireworks that may cause serious eye injuries when used inappropriately. Some of the most common fireworks injuries are eye abrasions, lacerations, contusions and foreign matter in the eye. The majority of these cases are related to the use of sparklers.