Senator Reverend Warnock’s Office Convenes Community Roundtable in Wake of Wellstar’s Atlanta Medical Center Closure

Last week, senior members of Senator Reverend Warnock’s staff convened a community roundtable with stakeholders to discuss the future needs of the Atlanta community in the aftermath of Atlanta Medical Center’s (AMC) sudden and unexpected closing

Senator Reverend Warnock has been leading the Georgia congressional delegation in pushing for answers and solutions following AMC’s closure

Washington D.C. — Last week, senior members of U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) staff convened a community roundtable with stakeholders to discuss the future needs of the Atlanta community in the aftermath of Atlanta Medical Center’s (AMC) unexpected closing. The roundtable focused on providing clarity on federal solutions to help Atlanta-area patients and hospitals deal with this sudden closure. Represented at the meeting were Grady Memorial Hospital, Emory Healthcare, Piedmont Hospital, Southern Regional Medical Center, Mercy Care, Tanner Health System, Wellstar Health System, Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, Georgia Hospital Association and Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“We are grateful for the leadership displayed by Senator Warnock and his staff convening community stakeholders from across the region to address challenges and identify resources for the hospital in light of the closure of Atlanta Medical Center,” said Grady Memorial Hospital administration. “As we work to absorb increased patient volumes, Grady remains committed to enhancing our community’s health and well-being by providing healthcare to anyone who needs it. We look forward to continued collaboration with Sen. Warnock and other government leaders to ensure our patients receive the quality care they deserve.”

“Emory Healthcare would like to thank Senator Warnock for his efforts in pulling together the Atlanta hospital community as we deal with the impact of the AMC closure,” said Dane Peterson, interim CEO and President and COO, Emory Healthcare. “We will continue to work with Senator Warnock and all of our government leaders to ensure Georgians continue to have access to world class healthcare at all of our Emory locations.”

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in Senator Warnock’s health services roundtable,” said Ela Lena, President and CEO of Southern Regional Medical Center. “The event provided an avenue for healthcare leaders from hospitals and other healthcare sectors to share valuable information about the challenges faced during these difficult times. The event highlighted funding needs for vulnerable and underserved as well as our commitment to ensure health care access is maintained for all Georgians.”

“Georgians for a Healthy future thanks Senator Warnock and his staff for hosting this important discussion on the future of health care in Atlanta and the surrounding region,” said Whitney Griggs, Health Policy Analyst at Georgians for a Healthy Future. “Many Atlantans, including those from the surrounding metro counties, relied on Atlanta Medical Center for their care and are now left with few options for timely care. As city, state, and community leaders consider what is next for the former Atlanta Medical Center site, we ask that they consider ways to address and improve health equity in the city by considering the perspectives of Atlantans of color and low-income Atlantans. These groups already face barriers to care, including a lack of transportation, lack of access to primary care services, and a lack of safe, affordable housing. To truly address the needs of the city, policymakers, industry leadership, providers, and advocates must come together to find a long-term that is rooted in improving health equity.”

This roundtable builds on a series of actions Senator Warnock has taken after the unexpected announcement that Wellstar’s downtown AMC location would close. On September 2nd, following the news that Wellstar was planning to shutter its downtown AMC location, Senator Warnock led his fellow Georgia federal lawmakers in a letter to the CEO of the company, expressing his concern about the potential closure and its impact on the surrounding community. A week later, at the Senator’s request, senior members of the Senator’s team hosted a staff-level briefing with Wellstar and other Georgia federal offices to hear updates on the company’s decision-making process and its plans for mitigating the consequences of any closure on the community. At the end of the month, also at Senator Warnock’s request, the Senator had a call with Wellstar CEO Saunders to express his concern with Wellstar’s decision to close AMC and to gather more information about how the company plans to assist Grady, Emory, and other hospitals in the area. In October, following reports that AMC doctors were subject to employment provisions, including non-compete provisions, that would prevent them from continuing to serve the Atlanta community, Senator Warnock called on the Wellstar CEO to publicly commit to not enforce any non-compete clause that would prevent AMC doctors from continuing to work in other Atlanta area hospitals. Senator Warnock is committed to continuing to work with community leaders and stakeholders to mitigate the effects of Wellstar’s AMC closure.