Fulton County

Fulton County approves one-time $11 million payment to Grady Memorial Hospital

ATLANTA — The Fulton County Board of Commissioners has approved an $11 million payment to Grady Memorial Hospital ahead of the closure of the Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center.

“The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted earlier this summer to approve $11 million for unexpected Q1 staffing costs contingent upon FEMA reimbursement to the county,“ the hospital said in an email to Channel 2.

“Grady is grateful for the Fulton County Board of Commissioners’' decision to release these funds now, before FEMA reimbursement, in light of Atlanta Medical Center’s impending closure and our need to deploy resources.“

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In an email to Channel 2, the county said it agreed to make the payment due to Grady’s importance, which is expected to increase with more patients.

“In recognition of Grady Health System’s important role during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fulton County agreed to make a special one-time payment of $11 million to offset increased costs. This allocation is in addition to the more than $60 million allocated to Grady this year by Fulton County for indigent care services and debt services payments,” the county said in a statement. “Fulton County had initially approved that payment contingent upon receipt of reimbursement from FEMA for expenses incurred by the County during the pandemic response. However, today the Board of Commissioners agreed to move forward with the payment to Grady now in light of increasing financial pressures, including anticipated patient volume with the planned closure of Atlanta Medical Center”

This payment comes on the heels of Wellstar announcing that they would be closing the hospital located in Old Fourth Ward effective on Nov. 1. Since the announcement, patients and employees have both been concerned about where they’ll end up.

John Haupert, the President and CEO of Grady Health Systems, said last week that his staff will have to pick up the majority of AMC’s emergency room visitors, despite Grady already being pushed to the limit.

“Our ER is fully staffed and running, but there’s only so many patients you can see in a day,” Haupert said. “What I’m worried about, to be honest, about the closure of AMC is that so many of those established relationships that patients have with a physician or a provider are going to be incredibly disrupted.”

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Haupert said Grady already sees 154,000 patients a year, and they expect to take on more than half of AMC’s 55,000 patients.

Haupert said he is concerned about people who use the emergency room for things that aren’t critical, like blood pressure checks or stomach pain.

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