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DeKalb County considers increasing support for Grady Hospital following AMC announcement

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DeKalb County considers increasing support for Grady Hospital following AMC announcement

Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. CREDIT LISA HAGEN / WABE

DeKalb County, GA — The impending closure of Atlanta Medical Center has the attention of public officials at the state and local levels.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first broke the story that AMC would close, reported that state officials are considering giving Grady a “one-time aid package” worth almost $200 million to help it deal with the extra patients the closure of AMC would send the hospital’s way. The AJC reported that could provide 200 additional beds at Grady. AMC has 460 beds, the AJC reported. To read that story, click here.

DeKalb County spokesperson Andrew Cauthen confirmed to Decaturish that the county is considering increasing its commitment to Grady, but nothing has been decided yet.

The county gives Grady money every year, and this year’s budget for that contribution is $19.3 million.

“DeKalb County Government is committed to ensuring that its residents have adequate access to healthcare,” Cauthen said.

AMC is owned by Wellstar. Here is Wellstar’s full statement about the closure, expected to occur Nov. 1.

Operations at Atlanta Medical Center Downtown to End November 1, 2022

After investing heavily in Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) for the past six years and pursuing every opportunity for an alternative path forward, Wellstar is announcing its plans to cease operations at Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) on Nov. 1, 2022.

Wellstar has operated AMC since 2016, investing more than $350 million in capital improvements and to support sustained operating losses. That includes $107 million in losses in just the last 12 months, amid decreasing revenue and increasing costs for staff and supplies due to soaring inflation. The pandemic and the intense financial headwinds straining healthcare organizations right now have only made matters worse at AMC.

“For several years, Wellstar has continued to invest in and operate AMC with significant losses to provide more time to partner on a creative, long-term, sustainable solution for the hospital’s future,” said Wellstar CEO Candice L. Saunders. “After an exhaustive search for a solution that would support the healthcare needs of the community, we are disappointed that a sustainable solution at AMC has not emerged.”

The health system has approached government agencies, healthcare providers and local organizations in search of partnerships and solutions to improve the overall health and well-being for the community.

Wellstar plans to wind down services at AMC gradually and will cease hospital operations on Nov. 1, 2022. In the meantime, physicians and team members will continue to serve Atlanta area patients and communities. Wellstar is committed to working with healthcare organizations, first responders and community organizations to ensure a thoughtful transition of care for current patients and to minimize disruption for the community. Wellstar is also committed to working individually with team members and physicians to support them through this transition.

“We realize this news impacts the lives of our team members and the patients we serve in very personal and significant ways,” said Saunders. “We are deeply grateful to the dedicated team at AMC who have long served our communities with compassion and excellence.”

As a non-profit health system and the largest safety-net provider in the state, Wellstar remains a financially sound organization and is firmly dedicated to advancing our mission to enhance the health and well-being of every person we serve. In 2021, Wellstar invested more than $915 million in unreimbursed care for patients across the region and remains a top provider of charity care in the state and the nation.

Wellstar will continue its commitment to the health of the more than 1.6 million Georgians across our diverse communities, delivering high-quality healthcare to all who are in need through our 9 other hospitals, 350+ physician office locations, urgent care locations and other facilities.

More Information About our Transition Plans

As we move forward, Wellstar is implementing a comprehensive transition plan to thoughtfully wind down services and follow state and federal regulatory guidance. During this transition, our top priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of our patients, community and team members. We will keep our team members, physicians and patients informed as we safely adjust services at AMC.

We are committed to collaborating with other healthcare systems and providers, first responders, the city of Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Community Health, the Georgia Hospital Association, and other agencies and municipalities to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of care for AMC’s patients and members of the community.

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