Wellstar scaling back services at only hospital in southern Fulton County

The new transition of AMC-South begins May 6
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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EAST POINT, Ga. (CBS46) - A major hospital in southern Fulton County is scaling back its services and transitioning to a new model of care.

On Wednesday, the CEO and President of Wellstar Health System, Candice Saunders, announced that they are refocusing services offered at Atlanta Medical Center-South in East Point. As of May 6, Wellstar will no longer offer emergency inpatient services at the location.

“As Georgia’s largest safety net caregiver, we are committed to serve everyone in our community and will continue to do so,” Saunders said in a press release. “By refocusing the services AMC provides, we are providing the right care at the right place.”

The new model of care at AMC-South will focus on primary, chronic and rehabilitative care and will be staffed 24/7.

“We are not closing Atlanta Medical Center South,” Saunders said on Thursday. “We are transitioning to a new model of care that better meets our patients’ needs.”

AMC-South is the currently the only full care hospital in all South Fulton County. However, of the 140 emergency room visits, per day to the hospital, only five percent of patients need inpatient care, according to Wellstar.

“This is the closest one,” said David Varnes, who lives 15 minutes from the hospital. “It’s very convenient for me, you know?”

The thought of having to travel to another hospital like Grady or Southern General, in case of an emergency, worries Varnes.

“One thing, it’s too far and the wait is too long,” Varnes said of Grady. “A lot of us around here in the neighborhood don’t have the proper transportation to get to different hospitals.”

“It’s very disheartening,” Khalid Kamau, mayor of the City of South Fulton, added.

Kamau said the loss of emergency services is a huge blow for all communities in Fulton County, south of Interstate-20. He said, while residents may not need an emergency room every day, when they do need an emergency room, they shouldn’t have to travel for.

“It is perplexing to me how in North Fulton County, there are 5-10 hospitals, and in South Fulton County, there will now be zero,” he said. “That doesn’t seem in my gut to be the right way to deliver health care.”

“Our patients will receive better care for their needs, from the same care teams that they do now, all in the same place,” Saunders said.

The new transition of AMC-South begins May 6. All inpatient services at the facility will be consolidated to Atlanta Medical Center’s main campus in Old Fourth Ward.