The News: Atlanta Medical Center announced last month it would be closing by Nov. 1, catching local officials and patients off guard. As of this week, the emergency room at Wellstar Atlanta Medical has officially closed. DeKalb County officials have taken some steps this month to alleviate the impact the hospital closure will have on DeKalb residents.
$20 Million to boost Emergency Services at local hospitals: The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners recently approved CEO Michael Thurmond’s proposal for a $20 million plan designed to enhance emergency services at Emory Hillandale Hospital and to support nursing services at Grady Hospital.
“Today’s vote by the Board of Commissioners will save lives and strengthen the healthcare safety net for tens of thousands of residents in DeKalb County and metro Atlanta,” said CEO Thurmond.
Emory Hillandale: Thurmond’s $12 million funding request for Emory Hillandale Hospital will mitigate the loss of emergency room beds due to the pending closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center on Nov. 1, which is expected to result in increased emergency department and inpatient flows to hospitals throughout the Atlanta metropolitan region.
The majority of Emory Hillandale Hospital’s uninsured emergency room patients live within a 10-mile radius of the hospital. Enhanced emergency department services at Emory Hillandale Hospital will also strengthen the healthcare network throughout metro Atlanta’s eastern corridor and reduce non-Level 1 patient flow to Grady, north Georgia’s only remaining Level 1 trauma care provider.
Thurmond’s plan allocates $12 million to support Emory Hillandale Hospital, as follows:
- $1.1 million to create the Hillandale Trauma Recovery Center, a hospital-based violence prevention program that will employ 10 specialists, including psychologists, outreach workers and behavioral health specialists, devoted to violence prevention and trauma recovery. The center’s mission will be to enable individuals who have experienced trauma to rebuild, restore and strengthen their sense of safety and interrupt the cycle of violence.
- $4.7 million to expand Emory Hillandale Hospital’s emergency waiting room by up to 15 emergency room bays.
- $4.5 million to renovate the hospital’s second-floor intensive care unit.
- $1.7 million to replace the hospital’s computed tomography (CT) scanner.
- $250,000 grant to a nonprofit entity that will inform and encourage eligible uninsured residents to register for American Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and other subsidized insurance coverages.
Grady: The plan also includes an $8 million one-time subsidy to support nursing services at Grady. This investment will be in addition to the county’s $22.2 appropriation for Grady during the 2022 fiscal year.
More about Emory Hillandale: Emory Hospital Hillandale opened in 2005 as part of DeKalb Medical and joined Emory Healthcare in 2018. In fiscal year 2021-22, 24 percent of Emory Hospital Hillandale’s patients and 21 percent of Emory Decatur Hospital patients were uninsured. Currently, Emory Healthcare’s 11 hospitals annually treats 49 percent of inpatient discharges for uninsured DeKalb County residents.
The additional appropriations to Emory Hillandale and Grady Hospitals would be funded by American Rescue Plan and county general funds.