Emergency room at Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center to close 2 weeks ahead of schedule

Atlanta Medical Center, shown in 2011, announced Thursday it will close its emergency room two weeks ahead of the closure of the hospital.

Daniel Mayer / wikimedia commons

Story updated Sept. 30 at 12:26 p.m.

Wellstar Health System says it will close the emergency room at Atlanta Medical Center by Friday, Oct. 14, a full two weeks ahead of the scheduled closure of the hospital on Nov. 1.

The company said in a news release that by “safely winding down services at the AMC Emergency Department” it can reduce the number of patients who may need to transfer out of the hospital by the time it closes in November.

Atlanta Medical Center will begin asking EMS partners to transport patients to other area emergency rooms by Monday, Oct. 3. The hospital will continue to take emergency patients until Oct. 14 but “request they choose other providers first when possible.” 

In a statement the mayor said he’s disappointed with Wellstar’s handling of announcements to the community regarding its plans for AMC.

“The Mayor and his senior leadership tirelessly continue to coordinate with health care providers and stakeholders in the region to prepare for the impact of Wellstar’s unusually abrupt closure of one of Atlanta’s most important medical centers,” said Michael Smith, Mayor Andre Dickens’ press secretary. “While we are disappointed in the manner in which they have made these announcements to the Atlanta community—decisions that greatly impact our communities’ access to healthcare options and the burdens they create on the existing system—the Administration continues to explore all options to minimize the impact of Wellstar’s short-sighted decisions.”

Dickens and other Atlanta, regional and state officials continue to work with Grady Memorial Hospital as it prepares for AMC’s closure.   

When AMC shuts down entirely, Grady will be the only remaining Level 1 trauma center in the city.

A Grady spokesperson issued a statement saying they are aware of Wellstar’s plan to close the ER at Atlanta Medical Center two weeks before the hospital closes.

“We have new procedures and staffing models in place to handle the anticipated increase in patients, which will be 2,500 more a month through our ER alone,” the statement said. “Grady’s staff is prepared to provide quality care to anyone who seeks treatment at our hospital. We remain committed to the health and well-being of the people of Atlanta.”

This story will be updated.