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Fort, others chastise Johnson


Published :
Thu, 27 Sep 2007 20:46
By : Agencies
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ATLANTA (AP) - State Sen. Vincent Fort and other Grady Memorial Hospital supporters on Thursday tore into Sen. Eric Johnson's suggestion that closing the state's largest public hospital might not be such a bad thing.

Speaking outside the state Capitol, Fort, D-Atlanta, said supporters of Grady were disturbed by the remarks.

'We thought he must have been misquoted,' Fort said of Johnson. 'He's saying what other people have in their hearts, but won't say.'

Johnson told reporters on Tuesday that if Grady were to close, 'maybe something better would come along. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if it went under. Maybe the phoenix that would rise in its place would be better than the hospital that's there now.'

Grady administrators warn that the hospital could run out of cash by the end of the year, forcing it to cut back services or shut down. Grady is losing $8 million each month, partly because it caters to a largely poor and uninsured population and treats the city's most critically injured patients. Some 75 percent of its patients are on Medicaid.

Grady is staggering under a $125 million debt in short-term capital improvements, as well as a roughly $50 million annual funding deficit.

Grady has the only Level I trauma center -- the highest level center -- in the metro Atlanta area.

'If Grady closes, it means people will die in the streets,' Fort said.

'We couldn't possibly count the cost if Grady would disappear,' said Anita Beaty, director of the Task Force for the Homeless.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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