212708 Grady Memorial Hospital on the brink

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Daniel Blumenthal, MD, MPH , Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta's 700-public hospital, is the largest hospital in Georgia and the site of north Georgia's only Level I trauma center. It was owned by the two counties in which the city of Atlanta is located, Fulton and DeKalb, and the two counties provide funds to help offset the cost of uncompensated care.

In mid-2007, Grady administration announced that the hospital, which was losing $50 million per year, would close unless new funding could be identified. Neither the two counties nor the state were willing to provide additional funding. A coalition of businessmen proposed that hospital ownership be transferred to a nonprofit board of directors, which would replace the politically-appointed Hospital Authority, essentially privatizing the hospital. The new board, they argued, could raise funds in ways not possible for the Hospital Authority.

The transfer took place in early 2008, and the new Board promptly secured a $200 million grant from the Woodruff (Coca-Cola) Foundation and additional funding from other private sources. The funds, however, are all for capital improvements, and with no new infusion of operating funds, the hospital's operating deficit continues to increase.

As this abstract has written, the hospital's new CEO has proposed to close 3 of the hospital's 9 neighborhood health centers and its outpatient dialysis service. Additional service cutbacks are likely to follow.

Learning Objectives:
To explain recent history and changes at Grady Hospital to maintain public safety net.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be a presenter because I work at Grady and have studied the financial causes and consequences of the cutbacks.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.