ATLANTA — With the sudden and unexpected news of Atlanta Medical Center closing its doors last week, Grady Hospital is set to soon receive some financial relief.
Fulton County announced Wednesday that they will be making a special one-time payment of $11 million to Grady Health System in an effort to offset escalating financial pressures anticipated ahead of AMC's closure. The funds were approved by leaders in the summer and earmarked to be delivered at a later date, but county leaders approved to expedite that process.
This allocation of funds is added on top of the more than $60 million distributed to Grady this year from the county for "indigent care services and debt services payments."
Fulton County had originally approved this payment contingent upon receiving a receipt for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accrued by the county during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from a county official. However, these funds are now being issued despite that.
"Today the Board of Commissioners agreed to move forward with the payment to Grady now in light of increasing financial pressures, including anticipated patient volume with the planned closure of Atlanta Medical Center," a spokesperson with Fulton County said in a statement.
Wellstar Health System announced on Aug. 31 that Atlanta Medical Center was planning on ceasing operations in November. They've lost $107 million in revenue in just the last year. In a news release, Wellstar said the decision came after "pursuing every opportunity for an alternative path forward."
The closure of AMC has stirred up discussion in the community over the potential lack of sufficient emergency medical care for residents of Atlanta. Mayor Andre Dickens noted that AMC is a vital part of "Atlanta's healthcare ecosystem," as Grady Memorial Hospital is the only other Level I trauma center in metro Atlanta.
Grady released the following statement:
The Fulton Board of Commissioners voted earlier this summer to approve $11 million for unexpected Q1 staffing costs contingent upon FEMA reimbursement to the county. Grady is grateful for the Fulton Board of Commissioners’ decision to release these funds now, before FEMA reimbursement, in light of Atlanta Medical Center's impending closure and our need to deploy resources.