FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County is planning to soon ask the Department of Justice to investigate Wellstar Health System’s decision to close two hospitals, including Atlanta Medical Center.
Channel 2′s Richard Elliot has learned that Fulton County filed complaints with two federal agencies last week accusing Wellstar of discriminatory practices.
Wellstar insists that it worked with Fulton County and others for two years to find a solution that did not involve closing Atlanta Medical Center and AMC South.
Elliot spoke exclusively with Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts on Tuesday. He says he plans to go before the Fulton County Commission on Wednesday to get a resolution directing county attorneys to file an official complaint with the DOJ.
Pitts wants the DOJ to open an investigation into why Wellstar closed the two hospitals.
He previously filed complaints with the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS. He believes this one will have more strength.
“This goes further because the Department of Justice has more teeth and this will be a stronger statement, message on our part that we’re serious about, the really, the health desert that Wellstar’s closing has created,” he explained.
Wellstar has pushed back hard against the new complaint. They released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying,
“The suggestion that Wellstar in any way discriminated against patients and communities of color is shameful and false...Unfortunately, local policymakers declined to provide any support to AMC as they rightly have and do with the other safety net hospitals in Atlanta.”
Pitts denies that account.
“They met with us on two or three occasions, but not once do I recall them asking for any specific assistance from Fulton County, so I’m not sure where that nonsense is coming from,” Pitts told Elliot.
Wellstar accuses Pitts and other politicians of attacking its healthcare system to score political points.
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