Operations to shut down at Atlanta Medical Center Downtown

WellStar took over Atlanta Medical Center, shown in 2011, in its 2016 acquisition of five Tenet Healthcare hospitals in the area.

Daniel Mayer / wikimedia commons

Wellstar Health System is closing its Atlanta Medical Center. The system announced the move in a statement Wednesday night.

Wellstar officials say operations at Atlanta Medical Center will shut down on Nov. 1.

In a statement, the Marietta-based company’s CEO Candice Saunders said Wellstar’s financial losses amid decreasing revenues, rising costs and the ongoing challenges of the pandemic have made the Atlanta facility financially unsustainable.

“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.”

The nearly 500-bed hospital has stood in Atlanta for more than 100 years.

It includes a Level Ⅰ trauma center, a stroke center and a Level III neonatal ICU. The nonprofit health system is a top safety net provider in the state.

Wellstar’s statement said it’s invested more than $350 million into the Atlanta facility in capital improvements and to support sustained operating losses, including $107 million in losses in just the last 12 months

“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,” Saunders said.

Wellstar also recently closed its ER department at Atlanta Medical Center South in East Point.  

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens sent a letter to Wellstar asking for information about its plans to close Atlanta Medical Center.

“This decision will have deep and reverberating consequences for the half a million residents of Atlanta and the hundreds of thousands of visitors and commuters to our city each day,” Dickens wrote in the letter. “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,” he added.

Dickens said the city was “blindsided by the announcement.”

After what a spokesman said were hours of closed-door conversations with Wellstar officials, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office also released a statement:

“The governor shares the concerns of the community on the impact this will have. Other local hospitals and healthcare providers are in active talks on how this closure will shift their needs and services. As they work to make the appropriate adjustments, Gov. Kemp will continue to build on the policy innovations introduced over the past four years that have grown access to quality healthcare while bringing down costs for Georgians across the state,” the statement reads. 

And Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams released a statement. It reads in part:

“If the Atlanta Medical Center shutters completely or shuts down key services, this will be the sixth hospital to turn away patients on his watch. Every hospital that continues to serve patients who cannot pay because Kemp refuses to accept our tax dollars should be commended,” she said in the statement.

Wellstar officials say they’ll begin winding operations down gradually ahead of the November closure.

More details are expected on the closure plan soon.