EAST POINT, Ga. — Fulton County Commissioners are trying to prevent South Fulton's only hospital from closing. They met with representatives from Grady Health System Tuesday, and Wednesday the chairman is proposing some solutions to keep it open.
“That was a business decision for them, but it was unfortunate and disappointing to me that they made that decision because it certainly negatively impacts the citizens of south Fulton County," Fulton County Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts said.
That decision is turning the Atlanta Medical Center South into an urgent care and rehabilitation center next month.
"I've been working with WellStar for more than two years now and Grady and other hospitals about filling the need that exists in south Fulton County," Pitts said.
Fulton County Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts is proposing solutions to keep the hospital from closing, including meeting with Grady and WellStar management to see if Grady could help run the hospital to keep people from driving an extra 20 minutes for care if it closes.
“There are 12 such facilities on the north side, and there was just one in south Fulton County. That's a problem. So that needs to be addressed and that came up loudly and clearly during our discussion yesterday," Pitts said.
Another suggestion is possibly increasing property taxes to devote more funds to public health care, including AMC South.
“That's not unique. It's done in other parts of the country, and I think it's something that we need to consider here," Pitts said.
Pitts said the county will do a community assessment to determine what kind of hospital south Fulton County needs.
“People need to be heard. At first, I thought they wouldn’t close it, but when they said they would, I knew there were going to be some changes," said Dickerson Azard, a concerned resident.
WellStar previously told 11Alive it was closing AMC South because data only shows a small fraction of emergency room patients end up requiring hospital care.
The conversion of the hospital into an outpatient center is expected to happen in early May unless Fulton County Commissioners can reach some kind of compromise.