ATLANTA — Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center started moving emergency room patients to other hospitals on Monday, as it plans to shut down the entire hospital next month.
The hospital said it needs to limit the number of patients it sees, starting with the emergency room. Other hospitals say the move will have an effect on their services.
“Our ER is fully staffed and running, but there are only so many patients you can see in a day,” said John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Memorial Hospital.
Haupert told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston that he expects Grady will see more than half the 55,000 emergency room patients AMC treats a year.
Wellstar said on Oct. 3 that it would start sending emergency room patients to other hospitals — Grady Memorial, Emory Midtown and Piedmont Atlanta -- as it prepares to shut down its northeast Atlanta facility Nov. 1.
Haupert said he’s expanding Grady’s urgent care facility located right next to the emergency room and extending its hours.
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“Additional visits will require additional staff, some in the ER, and additional physicians and advanced practitioners in the urgent care center,” Haupert said.
Wellstar said in a statement: “We feel confident that Atlanta patients will continue to have access to excellent emergency services less than two miles from the AMC campus.”
“It’s community based so the people are close, the live close, it’s convenient. The care, they know what they’re getting when they come, they know their physicians so it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be hard for them,” Haupert said.
AMC will only accept ER patients if needed. The emergency department permanently shuts down Oct. 14.
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