Residents in Atlanta and the metro area are still reeling from Wellstar Health System’s stunning decision to close Atlanta Medical Center.
After the hospital closed its doors on Nov. 1, the city and state lost one of its few trauma units, an active labor and delivery unit, emergency services, and even primary care doctors. Nearby hospitals are dealing with the fallout, taking on an influx of new patients. Former patients and staff have told Capital B Atlanta about the personal and professional challenges that the loss of AMC brings.
For residents impacted by AMC’s closure, we’ve compiled a list of alternatives where you can still get medical care — ER services, maternal health, primary care physicians — while navigating this new, challenging reality.
Emergency room service
Atlanta Medical Center’s emergency room closed on Oct. 14, leaving a big health care void in the city. All eyes turned on Grady Memorial Hospital, which is now the only other level one trauma center in the city. However, there are other emergency rooms not far from the former AMC site.
Grady Memorial Hospital
As mentioned, Grady Memorial Hospital’s emergency room department is now the only level one trauma center in the city. It’s a safety-net hospital, which means you may consider going if you don’t have health insurance because they can’t deny treatment.
If you choose to go to Grady’s emergency room, former patients say you can expect to receive excellent care. Be sure to check the wait times if possible. Despite having a reputation for great care, Grady is also known for being overcrowded, which only increased with when AMC closed.
Nearest MARTA stop: Georgia State
Emory University Hospital Midtown
Emory University Midtown’s emergency department is not a trauma hospital, but it is close to the former AMC, just 1 mile away. Its emergency room isn’t often listed as being on diversion — meaning it can’t accept ambulance traffic. However, sometimes the Georgia Coordinating Center lists the hospital as being overcrowded or busy, much like Grady.
Nearest MARTA stop: North Avenue
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital’s emergency room is located nearly 5 miles from Atlanta Medical Center. According to Piedmont Hospital System’s own data, the average emergency room wait time is 18 minutes. Often, the Georgia Coordinating Center lists Piedmont Atlanta’s ER as being overcrowded.
Nearest MARTA stop: Peachtree Road NW and Brighton Road NE via 110 Bus
In hopes to avoid instances of medical racism, Black birthing people are looking to more natural options, such as at-home and water births. When Atlanta Medical Center closed, it took away a key resource for patients to have water births, a service not readily provided in the city.
Atlanta Birth Center
The Atlanta Birth Center is one of few places where you can have a water birth done. The center previously partnered with AMC, and is still connected to other area hospitals. To book an appointment with the center, you’re required to attend either a “Meet the Midwives” session in the evening, or an orientation in the mornings. You’ll also have to complete some paperwork to ensure that your pregnancy is a low-risk pregnancy before you’ll be accepted in the birth center.
Nearest MARTA stop: Civic Center Station
Wellstar North Fulton Hospital
Aside from Atlanta Medical Center, Wellstar’s North Fulton Hospital in Roswell is one of the locations where water births can be done. It’s now Wellstar’s only hospital setting where a water birth can happen. The labor and delivery unit is much smaller than AMC’s, with only six delivery rooms, compared with AMC’s 20.
Nearest MARTA stop: Alpharetta Highway and Hospital Boulevard via 185 Bus
Many patients have taken maternal outcomes into their own hands, instead opting to have births at home. Doulas have become increasingly popular among Black birthing people for help in home births. If you want a doula, try starting with the Atlanta Doula Collective.
SisterSong, a reproductive justice group based in Atlanta, also has an extensive directory of Black doulas you can work with who can guide you through your birthing experience.
When AMC closed, the vast majority of primary care offices at the location also shuttered. According to Wellstar, the primary care practices there weren’t equipped to continue to provide support. There are still options nearby in Old Fourth Ward.
Emory Clinic at Old Fourth Ward
According to Emory’s Website, the Emory Clinic at Old Fourth Ward specializes in women’s health and maternity services, but you can also get regular family care there. The practice, under Emory Healthcare, is located less than a mile away from AMC. Some of the services include x-rays, wellness check-ups, and non-orthopedic injury treatment.
Nearest MARTA stop: Ralph McGill Boulevard NE and Ashley Avenue NE via 816 Bus
Piedmont Physicians at Inman Park
At Piedmont Physicians at Inman Park, just less than half a mile away from AMC, patients can find family care. Patients can get their annual check-ups, sports physicals, vaccines, and more. You can also meet with your provider via telehealth for the same price as an in-person visit.
Nearest MARTA stop: Inman Park/Reynoldstown
Among the closures at Atlanta Medical Center was an office of gynecology. For many, this may have been the closest gynecologist in Old Fourth Ward. But, there are still gynecology offices nearby.
Georgia Center for Women
The Georgia Center for Women’s Midtown location is actually at the former AMC site, but it’s not a Wellstar practice. The location in Old Fourth Ward has the same address as other medical offices in AMC. The center also has locations in Morrow and at Emory Midtown (whose labor and delivery unit has had some issues recently, if you’re looking to get obstetrics care).
Nearest MARTA stop: Ralph McGill Boulevard and Boulevard NE via 816 Bus
Peachtree Women’s Clinic
Peachtree Women’s Clinic has a team of specialists who are experts in high- and low-risk obstetrics, gynecologic surgeries such as hormone therapy, and treatment for irregular periods. You can also get your annual women’s wellness routine and obstetrics care if you’re pregnant. The Midtown office is about 3 miles away from the former AMC site.
Its office hours are limited, as it’s only open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The clinic has four other locations in Cumming, Alpharetta, Canton, and near Dunwoody.
Nearest MARTA stop: Midtown
Feminist Women’s Health Center
The Feminist Women’s Health Center is widely known for its abortion service, but you can also get your annual wellness exams there. The staff there offers breast exams, pap smears to check for human papillomavirus (HPV) and pelvic exams, as well as heart and lung screenings. Some of their additional services include testing for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV testing, and menopause health care. The Feminist Women’s Health Center is 8 miles away in North Druid Hills.
Nearest MARTA stop: North Expressway and Cliff Valley Way via 47 Bus