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DeKalb commissioners approve $20 million plan to support Emory Hillandale, Grady hospitals

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DeKalb commissioners approve $20 million plan to support Emory Hillandale, Grady hospitals

Emory Hospital bridge, April 19, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated. 

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, at its Oct. 11 meeting, approved county CEO Michael Thurmond’s $20 million plan designed to enhance emergency services at Emory Hillandale Hospital and to support nursing services at Grady Hospital.

“Today’s vote by the Board of Commissioners will save lives and strengthen the healthcare safety net for tens of thousands of residents in DeKalb County and metro Atlanta,” Thurmond said in a press release.

Wellstar announced in early September that the Atlanta Medical Center will close on Nov. 1 and will gradually slow down operations as that date approaches.

Wellstar also recently announced that the AMC’s emergency department will close in two weeks, on Oct. 14 and the hospital moved to total diversion beginning on Oct. 3, according to WSB.

The CEO’s plan includes $8 million to address Grady Hospital’s operating deficit. This investment will be in addition to the county’s $22.2 appropriation for the 2022 fiscal year.

The request additionally includes $1.1 million to create a trauma recovery team and $4.7 million to expand the emergency waiting room by up to 15 emergency room bays at Emory Hillandale Hospital. Emory Hillandale is also expected to receive $4.5 million to renovate the intensive care unit, and $1.7 million to replace the CT scanner.

Thurmond proposed a $250,000 grant, as well, to a nonprofit that will work to inform and encourage eligible uninsured residents to register for the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid or other subsidized insurance coverages.

Thurmond’s $12 million funding request for Emory Hillandale Hospital will mitigate the loss of emergency room beds due to the pending closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center on Nov. 1, which is expected to result in increased emergency department and inpatient flows to hospitals throughout the Atlanta metropolitan region.

The majority of Emory Hillandale Hospital’s uninsured emergency room patients live within a 10-mile radius of the hospital. Enhanced emergency department services at Emory Hillandale Hospital will also strengthen the healthcare network throughout metro Atlanta’s eastern corridor and reduce non-Level 1 patient flow to Grady, north Georgia’s only remaining Level 1 trauma care provider.

The additional appropriations to Emory Hillandale and Grady Hospitals would be funded by American Rescue Plan and county general funds.

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