SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — State senators unanimously passed a resolution Monday morning, urging the cities of East Point and South Fulton to establish a new hospital.
This comes months after Wellstar Health System closed the only emergency room in Fulton County, south of I-20.
Senator Donzella James, who sponsored this bill, said the passage of resolution 250 means residents from the City of South Fulton and East Point are one step closer to having a hospital.
"We have people who have emergencies and serious illnesses and they need to have care immediately, not hours later, not caught in traffic and wondering if you’ll ever get there," she explained.
James said a new hospital in the South Fulton area is crucial.
"No matter what, we’re on our way to getting a new hospital in our area and making sure that when people are ill, they have a place to go," she added.
James, who represents South Fulton, said a humanitarian group from the U.K. has already offered $75 million to start financing this, and that doctor's associations and medical universities, including the Morehouse School of Medicine, said they'd buy into the plan.
"Right now there’s plenty of money available to us and being offered to build a hospital, but we wanted to make sure we could be bonded, get our C.O.N. (certificate of need), we could even maybe negotiate with Wellstar because their C.O.N’s are still available and active but they will expire after a short time and they’re gone and they don’t need it, so we’re trying to see if we can get them transferred over to a new hospital. If not, we can go through the process because we have a hospital authority and we will have financing and bonding both public and private," she said.
Potential locations include spots along Camp Creek Parkway, the old Wellstar location in East Point, and other spots in East Point, where warehouses currently sit.
“I’m very happy about it and I look at it as on to the next round because it’s not over. It’s going to take a little bit but it’s already lined up," James added.
11Alive met up with South Fulton resident Corro'll Driskell in Buckhead Monday, after his medical appointment. He said it took him one hour in traffic to get there.
“I am so happy to see that this conversation is taking place," he said. "[Right now], we have to deal with the traffic or if we call for an ambulance we’ll probably get an ambulance that’s so far away from the emergency, the probability of surviving becomes very minimal."
Driskell said he’s glad the resolution passed unanimously, but hopes other cities near him join in on the conversation.
“I only hope that a representative from each one of the cities seated south of I-20, along with Fulton County, is part of the discussion. We are already in a bad situation, in my opinion. But we need to move forward with this with all of the key players," he said.
To read more on the resolution, click here.