GEORGIA NAACP PRESIDENT GERALD GRIGGS CALLS FOR MORE HEALTHCARE FUNDING AFTER HOSPITAL CLOSURES.
Over the last six months, Wellstar, Georgia’s largest non-profit hospital system has made a number of decisions inconsistent with its stated focus that its“patients are the center of everything we do.” It sounds good, however, Wellstar’s decisions over the last six months paint a vastly picture.
On April 6, 2022, Wellstar announced plans to “refocus” the services of its Atlanta Medical Center South (AMC South) Hospital. In a subsequent corporate statement, plans to “refocus the services” described a decision to eliminate emergency inpatient services. AMC South was the ONLY full care hospital in South Fulton County.
On August 31, 2022, Wellstar dealt another blow to Atlanta residents, businesses and visitors with its abrupt announcement plans to close Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) on November 1, 2022. This time, Wellstar cited the hospital’s inability to meet financial targets.
With this decision, Atlanta residents and visitors would now ONLY have access to a single Level1 Trauma Center. Prior to a decision to shudder its Atlanta operations, AMC offered convenient intown access to an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Neurointensive Care Unit and a Level III Neonatal ICU. As well, AMC was home to the medical practices of hundreds of mostly minority physicians and other health care providers.
Concerned business, political and community leaders have spoken publicly about the impact of Wellstar’s corporate decisions. Although disappointed, action plans have been launched to take the needed steps to keep quality healthcare accessible to Atlanta residents and visitors. While interested partners have emerged that want to serve Atlanta’s healthcare needs, Wellstar has delayed or rebuffed meeting attempts. With less than a week before Wellstar AMC closes its doors, local leaders are calling on CEO Candice Saunders and Wellstar’s board members to engage with interested parties to save healthcare in Atlanta. "We have to fully fund healthcare systems in order to stay the number one place for business," stated President Gerald Griggs of the Georgia NAACP.