Atlanta

DeKalb CEO asks for $20M to offset impact of Atlanta Medical Center closure

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Local governments are scrambling to pick up the pieces left behind by the sudden closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center.

AMC stopped taking new emergency room patients on Monday and will close its doors on Nov. 1.

Now, metro counties are trying to get millions of dollars to other hospitals to pick up that slack.

Emory Hillandale could get $14 million to help expand its emergency department and ICU as other health care systems try to step up to fill in that gap left behind by AMC’s closing.

“This has major implications in terms of impact on quality care for residents of DeKalb, Atlanta and literally throughout the state of Georgia,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said.

Thurmond is asking for $20 million to fill in the health care gap opened by AMC’s closing.

Under his plan, $8 million would go to Grady Memorial Hospital to help it expand its emergency department.

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But he wants the bulk, $14 million to go to Emory Hillandale, the main hospital for part of South DeKalb County.

He wants that money to expand its emergency department and its ICU and to create a new program for victims of gun violence.

“Hillandale is strategically located not just for DeKalb but throughout that sector. So by building capacity at Hillandale, we strengthen the healthcare safety net throughout metro Atlanta,” Thurmond said.

While Grady will need nearly two years to expand its ER capacity, Thurmond thinks the $14 million will help expand Hillandale’s capacity immediately — something needed after AMC shut down its ER this week.

“This is a crisis that seems to be growing. So we have to step in, invest in providing healthcare for all that needs it and particularly for uninsured residents,” Thurmond said.

The county commission still has to approve the request. The money would come from the general fund and from leftover federal COVID-19 relief money.

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