Georgia News

Governor Deal Signs Georgia Telework Week Proclamation

Deal signs Telework Week Proclamation (Pictured from left to right: Allison Little – UCB Pharmaceuticals, Trent Williamson – Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Sean Saffle – Georgia Commute Options, Keith Parker – MARTA, Governor Nathan Deal, Toby Carr – Georgia DOT, Allie Velleca – Georgia Commute Options, and Cam Yearty – Georgia DOT)

Teleworking can have immediate impacts on our environment, air quality, and commuter mobility, reducing vehicle emissions and strain on existing infrastructure. On August 7th, Gov. Nathan Deal proclaimed this week, September 15-19, as the fifth annual Georgia Telework Week.

The potential growth for teleworking in our region is tremendous. On average, teleworkers report better work and life balance as well as higher job satisfication rates than other employees. Additionally, formal telework programs play a key role in business continuity, allowing businesses to continue should an unforeseen event occur. Metro businesses can save money as a result of lower facility and energy costs, more productivity from their workforce, reduced absenteeism, and increased recruitment and retention.

During Telework Week, Georgia Commute Options asks for Metro Atlanta employers to commit their support of teleworking. Those who sign their commitment to the recognition week will see their company named in an Atlanta Business Chronicle ad on October 3.

Georgia Commute Options promotes the use of alternatives to driving alone to and from work, like teleworking. You can learn more about the activities occurring during the fifth annual Georgia Telework Week here. To get in touch with a Georgia Commute Options representative to learn more about how to get a telework program started at your workplace, please click here. To find out more about commute options for state employees, visit the DOAS website, here.

DCH Board Approves 2015 State Health Benefit Plan Options


The Board of Community Health today voted to approve the 2015 member contribution rates and plan designs for the Georgia Department of Community Health’s State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP), providing more choice in plan options for members next year. The Board’s vote today establishes the general framework of the plan options for next year, including member premiums. In the coming months, SHBP will work with the vendors to finalize the benefit offerings of each plan option.

“Throughout 2014, the Governor, the department, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, and the Board have listened to and heard the concerns of our members and providers regarding elements of the 2014 plan design and rates. Today the Board allows us to take another important step forward in providing the best possible array of vendors, plan options, and rates for our members. Next we will strive to clearly communicate and educate what is going to be available for 2015,” said DCH Commissioner Clyde L. Reese III, Esq.”

On July 1, 2014, the department announced its intent to expand the number of vendors and types of plan designs in 2015. The Board’s vote establishes member contribution rates and solidifies that the following options will be available to SHBP members for the 2015 Plan Year:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) – statewide Gold, Silver, Bronze Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) (exclusively), statewide Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Medicare Advantage (standard and premium)
  • UnitedHealthcare (UHC) – statewide High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) (exclusively), statewide HMO, Medicare Advantage (standard and premium)
  • Kaiser Permanente (KP) – fully-insured HMO for SHBP members who live or work in the 27-county metro Atlanta service area

The current Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) contract with Express Scripts Inc. and the current Wellness contract with Healthways Inc. will be renewed for the 2015 plan year, and will provide benefits to members who choose to enroll in either BCBSGa or UHC.

To educate its members on the 2015 plan options, SHBP will conduct in-person and online member outreach on the plan options prior to and during the state’s Open Enrollment and Retiree Change Option Period. As information is developed, SHBP members can expect to receive details from their payroll location and online at:

Open Enrollment will be held October 27 – November 14, 2014, for the January 1, 2015, start date of the new plan year.

To view SHBP’s list of Frequently Asked Questions and other information from this meeting, visit

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 uninsured and most vulnerable populations.

DCH is responsible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids,® the State Health Benefit Plan, Healthcare Facility Regulation and Health Information Technology in Georgia.

Clyde L. Reese III, Esq., serves as Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health.

To learn more about DCH and its dedication to A Healthy Georgia, visit

State agencies gather for #TeamGaSocial Summit to discuss Emergency Communications

Digital Peach News

Approximately 50 communications and leadership personnel representing nearly 40 state agencies gathered on July 30, 2014, at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s State Operations Center in Atlanta to discuss emergency communications and lessons learned from the winter storms that struck Georgia earlier this year.

The presentations varied, but they all focused on how government agencies can better communicate with their audiences before, during and after an emergency.

Cross-agency coordination like this is imperative for much of the work communicators do. This is especially true during an emergency, where cooperation between agencies is imperative and allows communicators to amplify messages, grow audiences, and better communicate with customers. To that end, representatives from the private sector (Georgia Power and The Weather Channel) were also invited to some and share their “best practices” with the State.

Below are the presentations from Georgia’s third #TeamGaSocial Summit:

• Georgia Department of Administrative Services:
Employee Communications: Tips and strategies for effectively communicating with your employees before, during and after an emergency

• Georgia National Guard
State/Federal Cooperation: What communications role Federal entities can play in a local emergency; and how words, actions and images can impact the perception of an emergency response

• Georgia Regional Transportation Authority:
Customer Relations: Moving past the disaster: Changing the conversation without shutting down engagement

• Georgia Power
Public/Private Partnerships: How private sector PR assets can support public sector communications needs in an emergency

• The Weather Channel
Media Relations: Resources and information TWC provides during an inclement weather emergency that state agencies should be aware of; and information news outlets want from state government during an emergency and what channels they monitor to get it

• Georgia Emergency Management Agency
Coordinated Communications: How the messaging from all participating partners gets de-conflicted and unified during an emergency; What information GEMA pushes out during an emergency and through which channels; and innovations and improvements in GEMA’s emergency communications processes

For pictures and discussion from the day’s event, please click here.

If you “do social media” for your state agency, we invite you to join our Facebook group by requesting access here.