Wellstar Health System closed the Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) a year ago, causing increased patient volumes at other medical facilities in Atlanta, including Grady Memorial Hospital. Wellstar cited revenue declines and significant operating losses. However, a coalition of community officials and lawmakers have filed complaints alleging racial discrimination, arguing that AMC and another closed center operated in majority Black communities.
Wellstar Health System’s Closure of Atlanta Medical Center Spurs Demand for Replacement
One year after the closure of the Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) by Wellstar Health System, advocacy groups and officials are lobbying for a new health facility. Previously, alongside Grady Memorial Hospital, AMC was one of two Level 1 trauma centers in the city. Its closure resulted in increased patient volumes at other Atlanta hospitals and shifted non-emergency patients to different practices.
Grady Health System Responds to Increasing Patient Volumes
“Grady does amazing work, but they need support in providing care for this community,” says Laura Colbert of Georgians for a Healthy Future. To help, Governor Brian Kemp allocated $130 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Coincidentally, Grady was in the process of adding 180 more beds when AMC’s closure was announced. Since then, the hospital has opened a new specialty clinic and reconfigured its main space. Grady Health System President and CEO John Haupert noted that the expansion was crucial due to anticipated patient influx.
Wellstar’s Reason for Closing AMC Questioned by Officials
Last year, Wellstar CEO Candice Saunders stated that declining revenues and increased costs led to AMC’s closure. Despite this, officials and Democratic lawmakers dismissed the rationale, filing two federal complaints alleging racial discrimination in the closure. The allegations, denied by Wellstar, are still pending. Meanwhile, the Atlanta City Council is considering extending the redevelopment moratorium.
New Outpatient Clinic Opens In Place of AMC-South Hospital
This week, Morehouse School of Medicine, in partnership with Atrium Health and Fulton County, opened a new outpatient clinic at the BuggyWorks Complex in East Point. The clinic, which is close to the former AMC-South Hospital site, now an urgent care facility, is expected to provide urgently needed healthcare services.
Morehouse’s Community Initiative to Address Health Needs
Morehouse’s new clinic hopes to address the community’s health needs, identified through a recent survey assessing the impact of AMC’s closure. Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and CEO of Morehouse School of Medicine, said the clinic would provide urgent and ongoing care and aim to prevent emergent care needs. The clinic will also serve as a training site for Morehouse’s Community Health Worker certification program.
Fulton County and East Point Officials Consider Establishing New Full-Service Hospital
Officials from Fulton County and East Point continue to explore the possibility of establishing another full-service hospital with 24-hour emergency care services to replace AMC-South. Discussions are ongoing.