|Emory Healthcare clinicians and faculty provided $70.7 million in charity care, a 7 percent increase over totals for the previous year, as reported in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) Community Benefits Report 2006.
The report can be found on Emory University's Web site at http://whsc.emory.edu/communitybook
A growing number of uninsured and underinsured Georgians is a major reason for the increase, but Emory's response to Hurricane Katrina is another contributing factor. Of the almost 400 patients hospitalized in Atlanta area hospitals during the first days after the disaster, nearly 40 percent -- more than 150 patients -- were sent to hospitals owned by or affiliated with Emory.
According to Michael M.E. Johns, MD, CEO of Emory's WHSC, Emory employees "met planes, triaged patients, staffed shelters, housed evacuees, set up phone lines and helped displaced students." A groundswell of aid came from across disciplines including faculty and staff of the School of Medicine, Rollins School of Public Health and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
At publicly funded Grady Memorial Hospital, where 85 percent of the physicians are Emory medical faculty, the uncompensated care provided by Emory was $24.7 million in fiscal year 2005-6, up $2.7 million from the previous year. And, when Emory physicians at Grady do receive reimbursements for services to Grady patients who have coverage, these funds are invested back into Grady via the Emory Medical Care Foundation.
Stories highlighted in the report include:
* Louisa, a New Orleans woman transferred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina from a New Orleans hospital to Emory Crawford Long Hospital and ultimately Wesley Woods Hospital to receive care. She was disoriented and separated from her family, and hospital employees worked tirelessly to track her family down and reunite them in Chicago.
* Trish Thomas, a recent college graduate with a summer job and no health insurance. When an uninsured driver plowed into her car, only Emory had the expertise to make the delicate repair of the aortic tear caused by the crash.
* Sean Thomas, a South Georgia teenager transported 100 miles to Grady's level-one trauma center via an Emory Flight helicopter after a bullet from a friend's gun sent shrapnel into his chest. After hours of painstaking surgery, trauma surgeons were able to repair his punctured aorta and eventually send him home for his 15th birthday.
With $2.1 billion in operating expenses, the WHSC has an annual impact on metro Atlanta estimated at $4.6 billion. The WHSC goal is to transform health and healing, a vision made possible because science, technology and social inquiry are providing new knowledge and insights on which to base a new kind of health care.
"This new kind of health care must meet the challenges that confront us as a community and make care more efficient and accessible, both in this country and around the globe," says Dr. Johns.