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January 8, 2008

Atlanta Hospital Faces Financial Crisis

A historic hospital in Atlanta, which has provided lifesaving services, including critical services for HIV-positive people, to thousands for over 100 years is facing a financial crisis and the threat of closing, reports The New York Times reports (nytimes.com, 1/8).

According to the Times, short-term financial contributions have kept the doors of Grady Memorial Hospital open over the last year. But without the willingness of county, state or federal governments to cover the multimillion-dollar budget needed to provide charity and emergency care, the hospital may soon be forced to close.

The hospital, which is home to one of the country’s largest AIDS clinics, has 675 beds and 16 operating rooms, and handles more than 850,000 outpatient visits each year. Grady officials expect that it will take $366 million to meet some of the long overlooked needs of the hospital, including replacing old beds, computers and X-ray machines.

The Times reports that the situation at Grady reflects a problem that is affecting public hospitals around the nation. According to Larry S. Gage, president of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, there are 300 fewer public hospitals in the country today than there were 15 years ago.

“While so many people are helping, there appear to be opposite pressures pulling us into further financial distress,” said Otis L. Story, the hospital’s chief executive officer.


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