Survivor Grady (2008)

Physicians at Grady Memorial Hospital

A year ago, Grady Hospital seemed as close to dying as many of the patients who arrive hourly at Atlanta's only level 1 trauma center.

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In the red for the eighth consecutive year, the city's safety-net public hospital was in desperate need of its own safety net. The void that would have followed Grady’s demise threatened Atlanta’s entire health care system and foretold a heavy blow to the city's economy.

Rallied by a new sense of urgency, leaders from diverse businesses and institutions, including Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine, created a resuscitation plan. The hospital's governance was changed to a nonprofit organization, with a nonpolitical, private board that reads like a Who’s Who of Atlanta business and community leaders. That cleared the way for the hospital to receive millions of dollars in private donations and government funding, beginning with a life-saving pledge of $200 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

Throughout the worsening crisis, Emory medical faculty and residents, along with colleagues from Morehouse, continued to provide care for some 30,000 inpatients, 172,800 adult and pediatric emergency patient visits, and some 790,900 routine outpatient visits. Many of these patients are indigent. During fiscal year 2007–2008, Emory physicians working at Grady provided roughly $21.4 million in care for which they were never compensated.

When Emory physician services at Grady do get reimbursed, every penny received goes into the Emory Medical Care Foundation (EMCF), which invests all such payments back into Grady. For fiscal year 2007–2008, the EMCF provided  $29.5 million to be used for new equipment, salary support for vital services, and other activities to support the work of Emory medical faculty at the hospital.