Atlanta, GA

WellStar announces the closure of its Atlanta Medical Center, downtown location November 1, 2022

Tiana Allen
WellStar - Atlanta Medical Center location set to close November 1, 2022Tiana Allen

Operations at Atlanta Medical Center Downtown to End November 1, 2022

A spokesperson for WellStar, a 460-bed hospital, confirmed that their location at the Atlanta Medical Center will close on November 1st.

WellStar provided this statement about the end of the year closing

“After investing heavily in Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) for the past six years and pursuing every opportunity for an alternative path forward, WellStar is announcing its plans to cease operations at Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) on Nov. 1, 2022. WellStar has operated AMC since 2016, investing more than $350 million in capital improvements and to support sustained operating losses. That includes $107 million in losses in just the last 12 months, amid decreasing revenue and increasing costs for staff and supplies due to soaring inflation. The pandemic and the intense financial headwinds straining healthcare organizations right now have only made matters worse at AMC.”

Regarding the reasons for the close, WellStar CEO, Candice L. Saunders followed by stating “For several years, WellStar has continued to invest in and operate AMC with significant losses to provide more time to partner on a creative, long-term, sustainable solution for the hospital’s future. After an exhaustive search for a solution that would support the healthcare needs of the community, we are disappointed that a sustainable solution at AMC has not emerged.”

WellStar provided another statement sharing that they did make some well-meaning attempts to stay open by providing more about their efforts to obtain funding and an amicable solution.

“The health system has approached government agencies, healthcare providers and local organizations in search of partnerships and solutions to improve the overall health and well-being for the community.” They write

However, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens states that he “Demands Answers Regarding Reported Closure of WellStar Atlanta Medical Center.” According to the office of the Mayor, Dickens sent a letter to WellStar’s CEO stating that the City of Atlanta was “blindsided by the announcement which will have deep consequences for the health and economy in Atlanta.” The letter also included that “The City of Atlanta received no advance notice of this decision and had no opportunity to engage with you to understand or help mitigate the factors leading to this closure. 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.”

WellStar CEO provided a comment sharing “We realize this news impacts the lives of our team members and the patients we serve in very personal and significant ways,” said Saunders. “We are deeply grateful to the dedicated team at AMC who have long served our communities with compassion and excellence.”

Saunders also ensures that the physicians and staff will continue to serve patients in the Atlanta area including “WellStar is committed to working with healthcare organizations, first responders and community organizations to ensure a thoughtful transition of care for current patients and to minimize disruption for the community. WellStar is also committed to working individually with team members and physicians to support them through this transition.”

Grady Health System also weighs in on WellStar’s closing sharing their “disappointment” in WellStar’s decision stating:

“Closing its second hospital in less than six months will have a devastating impact on patients, employees, and the Southeast region. Further, by not having a transition plan and referral mechanism for its patients, there will be harmful consequences on healthcare access for the people of metro Atlanta and hospitals across the region. Grady runs over capacity daily, and this decision by WellStar to abandon the community will further strain our operations, particularly our emergency room, as more patients will present with medical needs. We have seen a significant increase in emergency room visits since AMC South closed, which will be further exacerbated once the downtown AMC location is closed.”

WellStar concludes by sharing its understanding of the impact their decision might affect the communities they serve stating "At WellStar, people are at the center of everything we do. By listening actively to what people want, need and expect from their healthcare, WellStar is able to provide “More than Healthcare. People Care.” — at every age and stage. Our passion for people extends into the communities we serve."

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Tiana is a Journalist & Educator covering stories about Wellness & Politics

Atlanta, GA

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