Hospitals in the Atlanta area are feeling the impact following the closing of Wellstar’s Atlanta Medical Center. In August 2022, Wellstar informed the 2,800 employees at Atlanta Medical Center that the hospital will be closing on Nov. 1, 2022.
The community and political officials were blindsided by the closing. Months after the initial closing, hospitals in Atlanta are feeling the effects.
Emory facilities, ER volumes are up by 30% according to its CEO Bryce Gartland. On most nights, about 30 patients wait for beds to become available at Emory.
Piedmont Hospital revealed that emergency room visits have doubled since AMC’s closing and some patients are choosing to receive care at its facility in Henry County.
Some speculated that Wellstar would attempt to sell the property which is located in an area that has become more valuable in recent years. The Old Fourth Ward neighborhood is traditionally a majority-Black community that has recently been impacted by gentrification. The proximity to Midtown Atlanta and the Beltline has caused the property value to increase significantly.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens signed an executive order which temporarily prevented any redevelopment at the Atlanta Medical Center site.
Issued on Sept. 26, the order forced the Department of City Planning to reject any applications for building permits, rezoning, and property divisions at the site.
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 Atlanta Medical Center campus is a vital cornerstone of the Old Fourth Ward community,” Dickens said in a statement. “The City of Atlanta has an essential interest in ensuring that any reuse or redevelopment of this property is in line with the community’s needs and master plan. This moratorium will provide the City necessary time to review the impact of the hospital’s closure on the community and consider possible rezoning.”