Atlanta officials say they were blindsided yesterday when Wellstar Health System announced it would be shuttering Atlanta Medical Center in Downtown Atlanta effective Nov. 1.
The News: Wellstar announced yesterday that it would be closing Atlanta Medical Center, which it has operated since 2016. The announcement sent shockwaves through the city, and resulted in Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens demanding answers.
The Reason: For Wellstar, the decision to close is a financial one. Wellstar contends that despite investing more than $350 million in improvements to the hospital, Atlanta Medical Center continues to lose money for the health system. The health system said the hospital has lost $107 million in just the last 12 months.
What Does Dickens Say?: As Mayor of Atlanta, Andre Dickens is concerned about the impact the hospital’s closing will have on the community. In fact, the word “community” appears five times in the mayor’s two-page letter to Wellstar CEO Candice Saunders.
Dickens also notes that this is the second time this year that Wellstar has opted to close a hospital in a low-income area.
“With this decision, and the recent closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center South, your company has now closed two hospitals that primarily serve low-income populations in the metro Atlanta community,” Dickens wrote in his letter.
Dickens is demanding answers from the company about its plans for mitigating the health and economic impacts closing the hospital will have on Atlanta.
“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.”
Timeline for closing Atlanta Medical Center: Wellstar officials say the plan is to wind down services gradually at Atlanta Medical Center, completely ceasing operations at the hospital on Nov. 1.
Below is the letter Dickens sent to Wellstar in response to the announcement of the hospital closing.
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