Geo-mapping Technology to Aid Consumers to See, Search and Select Options
ATLANTA – Consumers and health care stakeholders now have the ability to search licensed health care facilities statewide for facility inspection reports, facility services and more with the click of a mouse. User-friendly, GaMap2CareSM is Georgia’s search, see and select tool for making more informed health care facility decisions, developed by the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH).
Additionally, the program will help officials in case of emergencies or natural disasters to notify and identify facilities for the possible relocation of residents.
GaMap2Care has combined geomapping technology with the department’s health care facility database of more than 7,000 licensed facilities. While enhancing public access to facility information and increasing agency transparency, the tool will also increase scheduling efficiencies for department surveyors.
“GaMap2Care contains a wealth of information – from content data about facility services, deficiency reports and licensure status to street and aerial visuals of the facility and the surrounding neighborhood,” said DCH Commissioner David A. Cook. “GaMap2Care will allow the public to make more informed choices as they search, see and select health care facilities.”
For example, a consumer may search for a personal care home in the Statesboro area, doing research online to see what is available through GaMap2Care. The consumer can compile a list of possibilities, e-mail that list to family members, and then plan onsite visits to select the most appropriate facility. The tool also includes information about nearby ambulatory clinics, restaurants, retail and more.
“GaMap2Care will help consumers search for a particular facility, and it will be helpful for the health care business community when deciding where to locate a new facility,” Cook said.
It allows online facility searches by name and/or address with an auto-fill feature to save time and improve accuracy. Other key features include a Google-powered “full-text” server search as well as Notebook, Places Search, Save and Share and more. Working with Google Maps, DCH created this interactive geo-mapping health care facility finder tool as one of the first of its kind in the nation.
About Healthcare Facility Regulation
DCH’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division (HFR) is charged with licensing, inspecting and regulating health care entities in Georgia. GaMap2Care will help HFR increase its efficiency in planning facility inspections, saving the agency costs and time. Additionally, it will be easily accessible to law enforcement, statewide government agencies and other stakeholders who have a need to know more about a facility and its neighborhood. More than 7,000 licensed facilities are included in the database of Georgia hospitals, nursing homes, personal care homes, home health services and community living arrangements.
New legislation, initiated by DCH during the 2012 legislative session, increases the penalties for operating unlicensed personal care homes, one of the categories that will now be accessible through GaMap2Care. HB1110/Act 617 gives the department’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation enhanced statutory authority to protect the vulnerable populations in these facilities. Once the law went into effect on July 1, 2012, it became a criminal offense to operate an unlicensed personal care home; the first violation is a misdemeanor; the second is a felony. These violations can now be pursued by law enforcement.
“Our goal is to protect the health and safety of the people in these facilities, and GaMap2Care will enhance our ability to do so,” said HFR Division Chief Brian Looby. “It will also improve agency transparency and bring the public into a more proactive and interactive role with Healthcare Facility Regulation.”
Additionally, DCH is stepping up its regulation of health care facilities and working more closely with law enforcement. The department is also increasing its multi-agency involvement and collaboration.
“Making this data available to the public, stakeholders and other agencies has been a goal for us at DCH,” said Looby. “With GaMap2Care, everyone can become even more informed during their health care facility decision-making. GaMap2Care is a powerful tool for consumers.”
For more information visit www.GaMap2Care.info.
About the Georgia Department of Community Health
Through effective planning, purchasing and oversight, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) provides access to affordable, quality health care to millions of Georgians, including some of the state’s most vulnerable and uninsured populations.
DCH is responsible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids,® the State Health Benefit Plan, Healthcare Facility Regulation and Health Information Technology in Georgia.
David A. Cook serves as Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health.
To learn more about DCH and its dedication to A Healthy Georgia, visit www.dch.georgia.gov.