Neighbors, city officials worried after Wellstar announces closure of ER

EAST POINT, Ga. — A big health care shutdown in South Fulton County could impact how people get care.

The emergency department and hospital beds at Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center South on Cleveland Avenue in East Point will close in May.

The health care system made the announcement this week. The facility will transition from an ER hospital to a 24-hour urgent care clinic.

Shortly after the announcement, Royal White told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington what she saw Thursday inside the medical center.

“The lobby is so empty, and the staffing is so short,” White said.

This week, Wellstar Health System released a statement, saying that it will close its emergency department and hospital beds at AMC South in May.

“They shouldn’t shut it down. They should do whatever they need to do to fix the issue,” White said.

White, like so many other residents in that area, are concerned.

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Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center South is the only ER within Fulton County south of Interstate 20.

In a statement, the Wellstar Health System’s CEO cited low patient admissions as a partial reason for the closure.

“Data shows that on average there are 140 emergency department visits a day at AMC South, with only seven resulting in inpatient hospital care (5%). For this reason, Wellstar is transitioning AMC South to a care model that provides the primary care, chronic care, medication care and rehabilitative care that our community needs and is using.”

Washington spoke with Deana Holiday Ingraham, the mayor of East Point, on Thursday. She’s also worried about the closure.

“I’m like everyone else, like, ‘Oh my goodness, what does this mean?’” Ingraham said.

According to Wellstar, when the AMC South ER closes, patients in need of the emergency room will be rushed to Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta, nearly 10 miles away.

“Miles and minutes could mean life or death. So I understand those concerns. So I look forward to working with Wellstar,” Ingraham said.

Ingraham said she’s meeting with Wellstar leadership next week to receive more information about comprehensive care for the community.

Meanwhile the ER is set to close on May 6.

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