For Immediate Release
November 1, 2023
New Georgia Project
[email protected], (470) 485-7333
New Georgia Project Mourns Atlanta Medical Center on Anniversary of Closure
(Atlanta, GA) – New Georgia Project’s My Community, My Hospital campaign released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the closure of WellStar's Atlanta Medical Center:
“It has been one year since Atlanta Medical Center (AMC) closed its doors to our community. One year since we suddenly lost a level-one trauma center, 20 labor and delivery rooms, and 460 hospital beds in the heart of a predominantly Black and low-income neighborhood. These losses left Atlantans vulnerable, and, one year later, we are not okay.
Since AMC’s closure, neighboring hospitals have been overcrowded, and wait times have increased significantly—especially in emergency rooms. Emory Hospital reports that their emergency room volumes are up 30 percent, while Grady Hospital estimates that 10 percent of their emergency room patients are those who would have previously gone to AMC. In addition, ambulance traffic increased by approximately 54 percent in the first six months after AMC’s closure. All of these delays serve as barriers to care, and they directly impact people’s lives. A recent study from Harvard University on the impact of hospital closures shows that, in the initial years after a hospital closes, nearby, newly stressed hospitals see an increase in unnecessary deaths—an additional 2.3 deaths for every 1,000 patients.
‘People are dying waiting for life-saving medical care,’ says Kierra Stanford, lead organizer for NGP’s My Community, My Hospital campaign. ‘I have conversations with impacted people every day, and the stories I hear are nightmares that have no place being a reality in Atlanta, Georgia. People are having to drive themselves to the ER because ambulances are taking too long. When they do drive, they have to go 10, 20, 30 minutes farther than usual. Then when they finally get to the hospital, they’re stuck waiting, sometimes for hours. Wellstar closing Atlanta Medical Center was one of the worst things to happen to the Atlanta community. Everyone is suffering—from pregnant women lacking adequate care to medical staff put out of jobs. And the worst part is watching our leaders stand by and do nothing about it. Georgia consistently ranks in the bottom 10 states for healthcare in the country. Our maternal mortality rate is abysmal, especially for Black women, and it only continues to get worse. We are in a healthcare crisis in this state. And instead of opening more hospitals in communities of need or expanding access to Medicaid—something 40 other states have already done—our elected leaders have hung us out to dry and die.’
Today, on the one-year anniversary of the tragic loss of Atlanta Medical Center, we mourn with the Atlanta community. We ask Wellstar leaders how they can sleep at night. We demand Governor Brian Kemp do his job to protect Georgians’ health, safety, and wellbeing. And we humbly request members of the media not to dim the light on this important story.
New Georgia Project’s My Community, My Hospital campaign will continue to raise awareness about the worsening access to affordable and reliable healthcare in Georgia, to advocate on behalf of impacted communities, and to hold those responsible accountable.”