What's next for potential Wellstar-Augusta University Health merger, as Atlanta hospitals shutdown sting continues

Kierra Stanford, a health organizer from the Atlanta area, speaks during public comment at a hearing held by the Attorney General’s office at Augusta University in Augusta on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Wellstar Health System leaders pleaded their case on why they should be allowed to take over Augusta University Health. (Photo by Arvin Temkar / Atlanta Journal Constitution)

The same Wellstar health system that shuttered two hospitals last year in Atlanta vows it will not do the same if allowed to merge with Augusta University Health.

Wellstar cited financial losses as the reason for shutting down the campuses in Atlanta, and executives report that the nonprofit will continue to spend large sums on charity care.

But that declaration has left some local officials angry, as well as those communities who depended on those facilities for care.

One East Point health care advocate traveled to Augusta to voice concern at a recent public hearing about the merger.

Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Ariel Hart was there, and sat down with WABE’s “Morning Edition” to share the reactions in the room.