Atlanta Medical Center employees say hospital closure could have dire consequences

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 11:19 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Right now Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) is full of patients and employees. But in two months the entire building will be empty.

On Wednesday Wellstar sent out a company memo notifying employees they would be ending all operations at AMC on November 1st.

Rodney Jenkins works as a floor tech inside AMC. He says he isn’t sure what this means for him.

“Just as long as I can make ends meet and put food on my table, I’m good,” Jenkins said. “But I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

It’s a decision that a Wellstar trauma surgeon tells CBS46 is bound to have dire consequences, since it will make Grady Hospital the only level 1 trauma center in Fulton County.

“Grady is already frequently on diversion, which means they are over capacity at which they can safely take care of patients. Our volume is about 33-50% of Grady’s. Therefore, I suspect this decision will kill people.” -Wellstar Surgeon

“Grady is already crowded as it is right now. So I don’t know what we’re going to do. I don’t know if it’s on Kemp. Possibly Stacy (Abrams). I don’t know who it’s on, but we can’t drop the ball on this one. We’ve got to pick up the pieces or at least gather some of the pieces,” Jenkins said.

Grady Health System released the following statement Wednesday night:

Grady Health System is extremely disappointed in Wellstar’s decision to close Atlanta Medical Center (AMC), which serves a predominantly minority and underserved community. In April, Wellstar made the decision to close the AMC South location with the caveat that they would remain committed to serving the community. Closing its second hospital in less than six months will have a devastating impact on patients, employees, and the Southeast region. Further, by not having a transition plan and referral mechanism for its patients, there will be harmful consequences on healthcare access for the people of metro Atlanta and hospitals across the region.

As a not-for-profit health system, Wellstar’s mission was to enhance the health and well-being of every member of the community, but they have clearly prioritized profits over people leaving 460 licensed hospital beds in the community empty and more than 120 patients per day having to seek emergency care elsewhere.

Grady is really the only true safety net in Georgia, and it runs over capacity daily, and this decision by Wellstar to abandon the community will further strain our operations, particularly our emergency room, as more patients will present with medical needs. We have seen a significant increase in emergency room visits since AMC South closed, which will be further exacerbated once the downtown AMC location is closed.

Grady’s commitment to serving our community with excellence will remain unchanged as we stand true in our mission to enhance the health and well-being of every patient we serve. Grady is exploring all legal options available to protect our patients, employees, and this entire region.