Planned closure of Atlanta Medical Center elicits strong backlash

An increasing number of local, state, and federal officials in Georgia are looking for answers from Wellstar Health System about plans to close Atlanta Medical Center, according to a Sept. 2 report from WABE.

Wellstar announced on Aug. 31 that the hospital will end operations on Nov. 1, and plans to progressively wind down services leading up to that date. 

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens sent a letter to Wellstar President and CEO Candice Saunders on Aug 31 detailing "extreme concerns" about the announcement to close the medical facility. The letter asserts that the closure will reverberate consequences for Atlanta residents and the countless visitors and commuters the city hosts daily. 

Mr. Dickens said that the city received no advance notice of the decision to close the Atlanta Medical Center and was not afforded the opportunity to understand and mitigate the factors leading to the decision. 

"I require immediate information about your company’s plans, what you are doing to mitigate the enormous health and economic impacts the closure will have on our community, plans for the multi-building campus once operations cease, and how you will be supporting the impacted personnel," the letter states. 

According to WABE, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock also sent a letter to Ms. Saunders, asking the company to "reverse course." 

"At minimum, you must delay this decision until there is a plan in place, in consultation with the City of Atlanta and neighboring hospitals, to absorb these patients. We also request an immediate briefing from Wellstar that details the company’s decision-making process and its plans for mitigating the consequences of any closure on the community, the local economy, and hospital workers," Mr. Warnock's letter states. 

A spokesperson for Wellstar told Becker's via email they are looking forward to the meeting. 

"At that meeting, we will share more about Wellstar's plans and our commitment to collaborating with other healthcare systems and providers, first responders, the city of Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Community Health, the Georgia Hospital Association, and other agencies to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of care for AMC's patients. We look forward to discussing this transition with Mayor Dickens," the email said.

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