Atlanta Medical Center set to shut down after 1 last full day of operations

After months of preparations, Monday could be one of Atlanta's largest hospital's last full day of operation.

Atlanta Medical Center is set to shut down Tuesday, after dealing with more than $100 million in losses over the past year.

Wellstar Health Systems announced in August that the hospital, which was a vital health care provider for many of Atlanta's low-income residents, would shut down Nov. 1. The hospital has already shut down its emergency room and other services.

"For several years, Wellstar has continued to invest in and operate AMC with significant losses to provide more time to partner on a creative, long-term, sustainable solution for the hospital’s future," Wellstar CEO Candice L. Saunders said in a statement.

But those efforts, including possible partnerships with government agencies, did not materialize, she said.

Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center Downtown in Atlanta (FOX 5).

Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center Downtown in Atlanta (FOX 5).

Wellstar has run the 460-bed hospital since 2016, but a hospital has operated at that location in downtown Atlanta for more than a century. Its 24-hour emergency room has the highest trauma designation and can provide comprehensive treatment for heart attacks, strokes, brain injuries and other serious medical conditions.

Its closure would leave nearby Grady Memorial Hospital with the only emergency room in the city with the same designation.

The closure will also have economic effects.

"This will be a loss of jobs, a loss of livelihoods and the loss of an anchor for other businesses serving folks that are coming to the hospital," said Leah Chan, senior health policy analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Wellstar representatives told FOX 5 that jobs had been offered to a majority of the more than 1,700 employees who worked at Atlanta Medical Center, with more than 800% accepting a new position in the organization.

The decision to close the hospital was widely criticized by Atlanta politicians with Mayor Andre Dickens calling the choice as leaving "open wound in the heart of this community."

As a response to the upcoming closure, Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia officials announced that the state will provide $130 million through funds from its American Rescue Plan allotment for more beds in Grady Memorial Hospital 

"While the decision to close was certainly no one's preference, our job is to move forward together and find a viable solution to the needs of the impacted community," Kemp said.

Wellstar said it spent more than $350 million to cover losses and make improvements at Atlanta Medical Center since taking over the hospital in 2016. The company operates nine other hospitals in Georgia, but recently moved to shut down the emergency room and inpatient beds at another facility — Atlanta Medical Center South.

That hospital was in East Point, also an area with a relatively high proportion of low-income residents.

Wellstar said in a statement it spent more than $915 million last year in "unreimbursed care" for patients across the region and remains a top provider of charity care in Georgia and the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.