Atlanta Medical Center closing: Mayor Dickens concerned after meeting with Wellstar

After a meeting with Wellstar Health System President & CEO Candice Saunders, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens remains concerned about the implications of closing Atlanta Medical Center.

Dickens requested a meeting with Wellstar administrators in a letter on Aug. 31, shortly after news of the hospital's immanent closure became public. Dickens said in a Sept. 9 letter to Saunders that he met with Wellstar officials, who he said shared information about the non-profit health system's decision. 

He said he's still concerned about the impact of the closure on low-income residents of metro Atlanta.

Dickens went on to explain the potential healthcare impact the hospital's closure cold have on the area's remaining hospitals if they're stressed by the simultaneous COVID-19 and monkeypox health crises, and stakeholders have emphasized the detriment of reducing the number of available hospital beds and resources in the city. 

"As Mayor of Atlanta, I will leave no stone unturned as I explore every option to safeguard access to vital healthcare services for members of our community," Dickens wrote. "But let me be clear: Wellstar still has a responsibility to this community as well. Wellstar needs to provide immediate answers to the community about what you are doing to mitigate the harm to the community of this closure."

The healthcare company, on Aug. 31, announced its plans to shut the hospital’s doors on Nov. 1. The company said it had lost $107 million in 12 months.

Dickens said in his recent letter his administration and City Hall are continuing to explore ways to fill the gap left by Atlanta Medical Center's closure.

"We will continue to engage these partners to quickly identify potential resources and services to meet the needs of our community and mitigate any detrimental impacts from your decision to close Atlanta Medical Center," Dickens said.