The closing of one of Atlanta’s trauma centers will have a major impact on the community. On Aug. 31, Wellstar informed the 2,800 employees at Atlanta Medical Center that the hospital will be closed on Nov. 1.
In a statement, Wellstar revealed that Atlanta Medical Center lost over $107 million in the past year. Located near Midtown Atlanta, Atlanta Medical Center is one of two hospitals that featured a trauma center, the other hospital is Grady. Patients who suffered from severe injuries such as burns, blunt force trauma, and gunshot wounds were often treated at Atlanta Medical Center.
The 460-bed hospital often catered to more low-income individuals or people who did not have health insurance. Nearly 50,000 patients who were serviced over the past year were considered low-income, according to WGLC. Also, the hospital is located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, traditionally a majority-Black community that has recently been impacted by gentrification.
The closing of Atlanta Medical Center will also impact Grady Hospital, an overstressed center that will be forced to handle more patients.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens blasted the decision and says his office was blindsided. He has since demanded a meeting with Wellstar to explain the closing by Sept. 16.
“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,” Mayor Dickens wrote in a statement. “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.”