ATLANTA – The Atlanta Medical Center will completely close Nov. 1. As that date approaches, charity clinics are bracing for a surge of new patients.
Channel 2’s Tom Regan spoke with Mercy Care in downtown Atlanta, and they told her it would be a challenge to treat all those extra patients.
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The clinic is closed on weekends, but on a typical weekday it serves 60-80 patients. And they expect that number to quickly top 100.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for the community,” Mercy Care’s Anitra Walker told Channel 2 Action News.
On weekdays, this clinic is full of homeless, uninsured and low-income patients. They expect the number to rise sharply with the closure of the Atlanta Medical Center.
“(The closure is) disappointing. He was definitely a needed resource in the community. There aren’t a lot of places people can go for emergency care,” Walker said.
Mercy Care is supported by federal funding, state funding, and donations, and they provide a range of services, including medical, dental, optometric, and behavioral health.
The timing of AMC’s shutdown couldn’t be worse.
“We’re meeting with Grady, trying to figure out the best approach to meet this looming need,” Walker said. “Our staff are tired enough from the battle of COVID already.”
Grady Hospital’s chief medical officer said Channel 2 Action News the number of trauma patients by both ambulance and walk-in is increasing rapidly with the closure of the AMC.
“We have already seen an increase of around 30%. We have also seen a sharp increase in air ambulance traffic; that volume has doubled,” said Robert Jansen, Grady’s medical director.
Grady is also doing something to help with the influx of AMC patients.
The medical director told Channel 2 Action News they are planning to set up a temporary mobile hospital which will add 25 beds, but this is not expected to be in place until the end of the year.
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