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Major Atlanta hospital announces closure, drawing rebuke

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ATLANTA (AP) — One among Atlanta’s largest hospitals stated it plans to close down in two months after experiencing greater than $100 million in losses over the previous yr.

WellStar introduced late Wednesday that the Atlanta Medical Middle will shut on Nov. 1. The hospital operates a busy emergency room and is an important well being care supplier for a lot of low-income residents.

“For a number of years, Wellstar has continued to put money into and function AMC with vital losses to offer extra time to associate on a artistic, long-term, sustainable resolution for the hospital’s future,” Wellstar CEO Candice L. Saunders stated in an announcement.

However these efforts, together with doable partnerships with authorities companies, didn’t materialize, she stated.

The announcement instantly turned a difficulty in Georgia’s contentious governor’s race. It additionally prompted a rebuke from Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who informed Saunders in a letter town was blindsided by the information and wanted “rapid data” in regards to the firm’s plans and what it was doing to “mitigate the big well being and financial impacts the closure may have on our group.”

“Atlanta Medical Middle is a important factor of Atlanta’s healthcare ecosystem,” Dickens stated. “It serves a few of Atlanta’s most weak folks.”

WellStar has run the 460-bed hospital since 2016, however a hospital has operated at that location in downtown Atlanta for greater than a century. Its 24-hour emergency room has the very best trauma designation and might present complete therapy for coronary heart assaults, strokes, mind accidents and different severe medical situations.

Its closure would depart close by Grady Memorial Hospital with the one emergency room within the metropolis with the identical designation.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams stated Wednesday the closure was “yet one more instance of the failure of Brian Kemp to serve the folks of Georgia.”

Georgia has skilled a spate of rural hospital closures that Abrams and different Democrats say the Republican governor might have prevented had he absolutely expanded Medicaid. Kemp has proposed a extra restricted enlargement that might require recipients to work or attend faculty.

WellStar has stated a full Medicaid enlargement wouldn’t have saved Atlanta Medical Middle.

Kemp’s workplace stated in an announcement that the governor shared group considerations in regards to the affect of Atlanta Medical Middle’s closure and that different hospitals and healthcare suppliers had been in “lively talks” about how it might have an effect on their wants and providers.

“As they work to make the suitable changes, Governor Kemp will proceed to construct on the coverage improvements launched over the previous 4 years which have grown entry to high quality healthcare whereas bringing down prices for Georgians throughout the state,” the assertion stated.

WellStar stated it spent greater than $350 million to cowl losses and make enhancements at AMC since taking up the hospital in 2016. The corporate operates 9 different hospitals in Georgia, however lately moved to close down the emergency room and inpatient beds at one other facility — Atlanta Medical Middle South.

That hospital was in East Level, additionally an space with a comparatively excessive proportion of low-income residents.

WellStar stated in an announcement it spent greater than $915 million final yr in “unreimbursed care” for sufferers throughout the area and stays a high supplier of charity care in Georgia and the U.S.

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