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WellCare of Georgia and Diabetes


Dr. John Johnson of WellCare of Georgia talks diabetes

WellCare of Georgia and Diabetes

Dr. John Johnson is the Senior Medical Director at WellCare Health Plans, Inc. – which is one of the Medicaid CMOs in Georgia. His areas of responsibility include utilization review, care management, quality improvement and clinical outcomes.  Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Rutgers. He completed his residency at Emory University Hospital. Dr. Johnson is Board Certified in internal medicine.

He also has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. Dr. Johnson owned and operated a practice in Douglasville that cares for patients with acute and chronic medical conditions for more than 13 years. Before joining WellCare in 2014, Dr. Johnson was the medical director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. While there, he oversaw utilization review and case management for more than 600,000 State Health Benefit Plan patients.  Dr. Johnson is a member of MAG, the AMA, and the American College of Physicians.  He is a also colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves Medical Corps.

Diabetes is becoming more common in the United States. It afflicts more than 29 million Americans, including more than one million Georgians. One quarter of the people who are affected by it aren’t aware that they have the disease. An additional 86 million people have pre-diabetes, which means that their blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetic. Estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050.

In addition to its detrimental health effects, the American Diabetes Association reports that the U.S. spends $174 billion a year to treat the disease.  The primary risk factors for diabetes include being overweight; sedentary; over the age of 45; and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk for developing the disease.

Diabetes is the nation’s seventh-leading cause of death. It is also a leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, new cases of blindness, heart disease, and stroke. A significant number of Georgians who are struggling with diabetes, particularly those in low-income and medically underserved populations, do not fully understand how to manage diabetes on a day-to-day basis.

WellCare is working to address the needs the diabetic population by collaborating with patients, providers, family members, and the community using a variety of mechanisms, including value-based care, telemedicine, field-based case management, the patient-centered medical home, and advocacy.

Special Guests:

Dr. John Johnson, MD, Senior Medical Director, WellCare of Georgia  


  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
  • Board Certified, Internal Medicine
  • MBA, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
  • Colonel, US Army

Donald Palmisano, CEO, Executive Director of Medical Association of Georgia  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3

Medical Association of Georgia

  • JD Law, Loyola School of Law
  • Board of Directors, Physician Advocacy Institute
  • Medical Payment Subcommitte Member, State Board of Workers’ Compensation
  • Treasurer, Board of Directors, Physicians’ Institute for Excellence in Medicine
  • Former Director, Government Relations/General Counsel/Director, GAMPAC

Dr. Mark Beaty and Dr. Manny Rodriguez

plastic surgery

Dr. Mark Beaty

infectious disease

Dr. Manny Rodriguez

Dr. Mark Beaty and Dr. Manny Rodriguez

I was joined in studio by facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Mark Beaty, and I spoke with infectious disease physician, Dr. Manny Rodriguez about the Zika virus.

Dr. Mark Beaty specializes in elective aesthetic facial procedures to improve or reconstruct facial blemishes and flaws.  Today we know there is more than simple vanity as reasons to consider improving the look of one’s face, particularly when you are a business professional.

Dr. Beaty shared information about recent studies that looked at individuals who underwent aesthetic procedures to address issues such as symmetry with regard to their earning over time.  The study showed that business professionals in sales/leadership positions earned significantly more over time than counterparts who did not correct such issues.

We talked about some of the various ways Dr. Beaty is able to improve facial beauty, including some of the basic surgical procedures he performs, such as lifts and tucks, reconstruction of the nose, etc.  He draws upon years of experience and refinement of his technique to offer what he calls, ProLIFT, allowing optimal aesthetic result with less recovery time.

He also discussed a number of innovative non-surgical procedures he is able to offer that hasten return to work with short recovery, minimal bruising or external thermal wounds.  His CoolSculpting program creates the best value for non-surgical fat reduction through the use of a special device that is able to kill adipose cells, while protecting other tissues in the trouble spot.

He also explained the new Profound skin tightening procedure for non-surgical improvement of loose, saggy skin.  Dr. Beaty is pleased to now have an office located in Midtown Atlanta to increase convenience for his in-town patients.

We’ve heard much about the Zika virus in the news lately, as several persons in the US have been found to be carrying the disease upon returning to the US (typically from Brazil).  The virus has caused alarm due to the fact that it has recently been attributed as the cause for microcephaly in infants delivered to mothers who were infected during pregnancy.

Infectious disease physician, Dr. Manny Rodriguez took time to sit down and share some information about the virus for our listeners.  In many ways, the zika viral infection is relatively benign, according to Dr. Rodriguez, with only a small number of persons exhibiting symptoms that alert them to the fact that they were exposed to the virus.

We talked about the symptoms that are most commonly seen when symptoms manifest, how the infection is diagnosed, what to expect should one become infected, along with some useful information on how to avoid the infection to begin with.

As we approach the Olympic games that will be held in Brazil, I’m sure we will continue to focus on this issue.  I’m pleased to share some information straight from the expert for our listeners!

Special Guests:

Dr. Mark Beaty of Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery  

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plastic surgery

  • Doctorate in Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine
  • Residency, University of Iowa Department of Otolaryngology
  • Fellowship, Facial Plastic Surgery, Emory-Affiliated  Buckhead Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Board Certified in Facial Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology
  • Recipient, Sir Harold Delf Gilles award for research evaluating effects of rhinoplasty techniques on nasal architecture

Dr. Manny Rodriguez, DO, Infectious Disease Services of Georgia  

zika virus

  • Doctor of Osteopathy, Nova Southeastern University
  • Master of Public Health, Nova Southeastern University
  • Residency, University of South Alabama
  • Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, The George Washington University
  • Board Certified in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine


Project DAN and Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law


Dr. Shonali Saha, CW Hall, Dallas Gay

Project DAN and Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law

We continued our series with Medical Association of Georgia this week, talking about Project DAN and Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law.  Dallas Gay and Dr. Shonali Saha were my guests.

MAG Foundation ‘Think About It’ campaign Community Chair Dallas Gay and Shonali Saha, M.D. – an adolescent medicine and addiction medicine physician with the Georgia Behavioral Health Professionals practice in Smyrna – discussed naloxone and the state’s ‘9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law’ on the ‘Top Docs Radio’ program on the Business Radio-X Network at 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 8.

Naloxone is an effective, non-addictive prescription medication that reverses the effects of opioid drug overdoses. Under Georgia’s 9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law, naloxone can be delivered on an intranasal or intramuscular basis. Physicians in Georgia can prescribe naloxone via a standing order to a person who is at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose. And at their discretion, physicians can prescribe naloxone to pain management clinics, first responders, harm reduction organizations, or family members or friends or other people who are in a position to assist a patient who is at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose.

The 9-1-1 Medical Amnesty Law provides limited immunity for individuals who possess certain drugs and drug paraphernalia when they experience a drug overdose and are in need of medical care, for people who seek medical care for a person who is experiencing a drug overdose, and for certain underage drinking offenses for minors who seek medical care during an alcohol overdose.

Special Guests:

Dallas Gay, Co-Chair, “Think About It” Campaign




  • Board Member, Northeast Georgia Medical Center
  • MBA, Georgia State University
  • Member, Drug Free Coalition of Hall County
  • Former President, Protein Products, Inc
  • Former President, American Proteins, Inc.

Dr. Shonali Saha, MD, Georgia Behavioral Health Professionals  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3



  • Doctor of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York University
  • Residency, Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Fellowship, Adolescent and Addiction Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Attending Physician, Ridgeview Institute