City, county leaders conflicted over AMC closing; some support ‘business decision’

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Some local leaders are now at odds over whether they should be pushing to keep Atlanta Medical Center alive.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens sent a second forceful letter about the closure of AMC saying in part, “Wellstar needs to provide immediate answers to the community about what you are doing to mitigate the harm to the community of this closure.”

“I was not disappointed, nor surprised,” said Fulton County Board of Commissioners chairman Robb Pitts.

He says he’s sympathetic to Wellstar’s decision.

“The southside closing was a business decision on their part. This closing on Nov. 1 was and is a business decision,” said Pitts.

Pitts says Atlanta will be able to manage with only one Level 1 trauma center.

“From a medical or clinical point of view, level 2 hospitals provide the same type of service. Therefore, losing Wellstar designation as a Level 1, does not impact our ability to service those who would need a level 1 hospital,” said Pitts.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF AMC CLOSURE

It’s true according to the American Trauma Society, Level 1 and Level 2 hospitals provide similar services.

One difference are the research requirements.

Another is a Level 1 trauma center has a critical care physician in hospital 24/7; as for Level 2, they are on-call and must be able to respond within 15 minutes.

Pitts said Fulton County will still contribute funding to Grady Hospital, and the county has no plans to increase taxes. If there are budget issues, he said the county will look at what services they can trim.

“Emergency rooms are pretty much at capacity so we are looking at a plan that will involve primarily Piedmont and Emory helping out until we come up with a long-term solution,” said Pitts.

Pitts also said that he consulted Fulton County lawyers and there is nothing they can do to stop the closure.

Dickens reiterated they will continue to explore every option possible.