Grady plans to open ER in Union City to fill gap in emergency care

Grady Health System will be opening a freestanding emergency department in south Fulton County. The move is to increase emergency medical services in metro Atlanta following the closure of Wellstar’s Atlanta Medical Center South and Atlanta Medical Center in 2023

"After Wellstar closed the two Atlanta Medical Center hospitals, there was this big healthcare desert south of I-20 for most of south Fulton County," John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady, told FOX5.  

Grady Health System, which saw nearly 138,000 emergency visits last year at its main Atlanta campus, aims to address the service gap with this new 20,000-square-foot facility featuring 16 bays for adult and pediatric care, comprehensive diagnostic services, and an on-site helipad for critical patient transfers staffed by board-certified medical professionals. 

John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady, emphasized the importance of accessible emergency care in the region. "As metro Atlanta’s population grows, so does the need for medical care," Haupert said. "This facility will bring top-tier emergency services directly to the residents of South Fulton, ensuring they receive the same quality of care found elsewhere in the city." 

The project is part of Grady’s broader initiative to enhance healthcare accessibility in southern Fulton County, following the openings of new outpatient centers earlier this year. The development of the 24/7 emergency department is supported by both county funding and federal grants aimed at expanding healthcare access. 

"We need to be able to make sure people have access to care. We need to make sure people who are not currently receiving equitable care, that that gets corrected," Haupert said. 

Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts highlighted the urgency of the project. "No one should die early because of their ZIP code. We are committed to eliminating the healthcare desert in South Fulton," Pitts stated, expressing optimism about the project's impact on community health. 

Pitts is also optimistic about what may follow the emergency department. "The dream is, and the need is, for a freestanding hospital in south Fulton County, but this is a major step in the right direction," he said. 

Grady has purchased an extra 40 acres adjacent to the emergency department to add services complimenting the community's future needs. 

The construction of the freestanding emergency department is slated to begin in fall 2024, pending regulatory approvals, with doors expected to open in 2026.