Groups seek Ga. car tag hike for trauma care

Monday, Sept. 13, 2010 4:42 PM
Last updated 5:28 PM
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ATLANTA -- A group of medical and business organizations is launching a campaign Wednesday to try to convince voters to support a $10 increase in car tags to fund a statewide network of trauma-care facilities.

While the state has more than 100 hospitals with some type of emergency room, just 16 have what medical experts classify as a trauma-care center. That's about half of what they say is needed.

As a result, Georgians die at a 20 percent higher rate from accidents like falls and car wrecks than the national average.

"We don't think Georgians should be dying more than the national average because they live in Georgia," said Dr. Dennis Ashley, chief of trauma care at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon. "Our legislators finally heard it."

In the last legislative session, a change in the constitution adding the tag fee to voters on the November ballot.
Supporters of constitutional amendment 2 hope the annual fee will raise $80 million to upgrade emergency rooms, buy helicopters and hire the trauma specialists to be on duty 24 hours each day.

At the beginning of the year, a law took effect adding $200 to speeding tickets for anyone caught driving more than 85 mph on a four-lane roadway or 75 mph on two lanes. But in the first eight months of the year, that program has only triggered $6 million in fines from 29,000 tickets, according to Susan Sports of the Department of Driver Services.

Plus, those fines don't automatically go to trauma care because the legislature could use the money for other purposes any time it chooses.

The coalition behind the Yes Amendment 2 campaign is kicking in more than $1 million. Television ads will begin airing in Atlanta Wednesday and in the rest of the state next month.

Medical professionals are frustrated that they lose 400-700 Georgians to accidents each year above what national averages would predict. The reason is the specialized trauma centers aren't spread evenly across the state so that patients can get there within the critical 60 minutes after an accident.

"Sometimes, I'll get patients from South Georgia as far as two hours away," Ashley said. "Even if we have room for them and we can take them, that's a long way to go."

Comments (19) Add comment
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follower
59
Points
follower 09/13/10 - 04:53 pm
0
0
I am against any blanket tax

I am against any blanket tax that targets all for the actions of a few. I don't mind the super speeder fine because I won't be getting one.

Why not just add a direct stipend to all traffic tickets that go to this area of need. This tax on every automobile owner penalizes all for the reckless driving of a few.

I understand there is a need, but the safe driver isn't the cause, although many times they are the victim.

billoftt
0
Points
billoftt 09/13/10 - 04:55 pm
0
0
Personally, I am willing to

Personally, I am willing to pay an extra 10 bucks per year for this. Also, considering the driving habits in the area, I may need it someday!

billoftt
0
Points
billoftt 09/13/10 - 04:57 pm
0
0
Follower, you comment didn't

Follower, you comment didn't show up until after I posted mine, but agree with you as well. Violations for excessive speeding, reckless driving, negligent driving etc. should be met with stiff fines. If you do not like it, do not commit those acts.

follower
59
Points
follower 09/13/10 - 05:05 pm
0
0
Thanks billoftt. It seems

Thanks billoftt.

It seems that so many needs are caused by lawbreakers and funded by the rest.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/13/10 - 05:08 pm
0
0
So because certain areas

So because certain areas cannot support their own citizens with emergency care, I have to pay more money?

So, because politicians can't catch enough "super speeders" I have to pay more?

So, because people drink and drive, refuse to wear their seat belts, etc, I have to pay more?

Who's politician's relative/friend/contributor has the contract to build these "trauma centers" anyway?

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 09/13/10 - 05:51 pm
0
0
When the Politicians and the

When the Politicians and the Ga. AG does something about the illegals abusing our ER/Trauma Centers, I might consider it.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 09/13/10 - 06:26 pm
0
0
More proof, if any were

More proof, if any were actually needed, the politicians don't get it. This is a TAX INCREASE. What mental defective sitting in the capitol thinks we are not being taxed enough; sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes, licenses, fees, tolls are bleeding working people dry. Sadly, with the generational sponges able to round up rent-a-crowds and the beneficiaries -- the "...medical and business organizations," able to sink funds into this program with an eye towards reaping a huge cash reward if it's passed, there will probably be a midnight deal.

Where do we turn for our free stuff, like free housing to avoid paying property taxes, EBT cards to dodge sales taxes, welfare payments to avoid paying income taxes, as well as free medical care (without even co-pays). And this organization wants us to further subscribe the medical system that is geared to the illegals and irresponsible and lifelong bloodsuckers?

Nobody's listening. Perhaps after November.

maggiemae
0
Points
maggiemae 09/13/10 - 06:42 pm
0
0
I am paying more for health

I am paying more for health insurance, more for food, more for clothing - so why not give $10.00 for this. Heck, there's not enough to go around anyhow.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 09/13/10 - 06:47 pm
0
0
They added $5 to motorcycle

They added $5 to motorcycle tags for the safety course. Politicians/crooks took the money. You have to pay $250 for the course. Adding $10 will just give them more of your money.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/13/10 - 06:51 pm
0
0
Look at the extra tax on

Look at the extra tax on cigarettes for "smoking education." LOL

ameliaf
0
Points
ameliaf 09/13/10 - 07:13 pm
0
0
This is a good idea. I would

This is a good idea. I would rather have a general tax pay for this. After all, not all emergency trauma is caused by an auto accident. Think fire, flood, electrocution, falling off a ladder. But - enough is auto caused that this is one way to have all participate in funding something any one of us may need at some point in our driving lives.

An icy patch on the road can hit any of us. Sure, speeders and reckless drivers do a lot of harm. But sometimes it is no ones fault.

The lack of high level trauma care across Georgia is scary.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 09/13/10 - 08:30 pm
0
0
I wonder who will be exempted

I wonder who will be exempted from the added tax? Come on, every time there is a tax increase the hidden exemptions appear afetr approval.
Realizing the cost of a fully outfitted medical helicopter with maintenance and personnel is probably in the neighborhood of 15 - 20 million, just how many helicopters are they talking about? And think about the requirement to build heliports and hiring 24 hour a day trauma specialists, and building the facilities to operate in. Heck we paid more than that for our little TEE center. They have a lot of cost and it is far more than the 80 million stated. So what to do, why keep the fee on a steady yearly creep so we don't notice it.

BTW if this is such a good plan why did the "stakeholders" have to build a war account to sell it to the public?

RAINBOW
11
Points
RAINBOW 09/13/10 - 08:32 pm
0
0
If i could know half the

If i could know half the money would not line someones pocket I might think about it/

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/13/10 - 08:37 pm
0
0
They won't let you think

They won't let you think about it. This isn't voluntary. You drive a car, you pay the fee.

Just think about it before you vote this November.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 09/13/10 - 08:49 pm
0
0
I'm against any more taxes.
Unpublished

I'm against any more taxes. make it voluntary and give those that want to give the opportunity and those that choose not to give the right to say no. Maybe Obama's health care bill will pay for higher trauma fees.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 09/13/10 - 09:01 pm
0
0
Stupid idea. Another tax

Stupid idea. Another tax unrelated to the source. Why dont you just charge everyone 10 dollars who breathes Georgia air? NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BEGIN NEW TAX PROGRAMS! Not to mention the fools in Atlanta would spend the dollars on something else..........does the term FICA ring any bells? I will never see a dime of that "funded program".

And who is stupid enough to think that a 10 dollar per car fee is going to build trauma centers? What a lie.

Riverman1
87135
Points
Riverman1 09/13/10 - 09:54 pm
0
0
I would like to see the list

I would like to see the list of medical and business organizations who are launching the campaign. A whole profession has grown up around this designation of trauma centers.

Aiken Regional was previously designated a trauma center, but when they began to lose money because many of the type patients they received were not paying, they dropped the designation and these patients were sent to MCG. Has Aiken Reg. actually changed their level of medical care? No.

What's happening is that hospitals that could handle trauma patients are not accepting their share of the injured patients. For instance you could have an accident right outside Aiken Reg. and you would be transported to MCG even though Aiken has the same cardiothoracic and neurosurgery capability as MCG.

For those of you who believe the trauma center designation means you have those type surgeons in house, you are wrong. The surgical teams at the non trauma centers are on call exactly as at the trauma centers.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 09/13/10 - 10:01 pm
0
0
eliminate alcohol and see

eliminate alcohol and see what happens to that trama death rate.

PUPPYMOMMA
1367
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 09/13/10 - 11:58 pm
0
0
If alcohol was eliminated the

If alcohol was eliminated the trauma rooms would still do plenty of business. There is always an idiot on the road. Personally saw a couple today. I am against this increase. The article stated that the super speeder taxes would go for trauma care. So people slowed down. Saved some lives. The money could be used by whatever the legislature decides. That means money will be diverted for something else. I'm tired of paying for illegal care. Eliminate illegal alien care and I bet it raises more money than the super speeder law has.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/14/10 - 08:40 am
0
0
Eliminate alcohol? LOL. That

Eliminate alcohol? LOL. That worked so well when we did it before...

trimmy
29
Points
trimmy 09/14/10 - 07:35 pm
0
0
Make the offenders pay, not
Unpublished

Make the offenders pay, not me.

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