November 9-16 during Morning Edition
Since opening its doors in 1892, Grady Hospital has cared for hundreds of thousands of metro Atlanta’s poorest residents. Today, Grady is the area’s only health care safety net, and a crucial training ground for Georgia’s future doctors. But the 100-year old institution is on the verge of collapse. Without a major infusion of money in the coming weeks, Grady will fail to make payroll by the end of the year, and may have to close. Grady’s collapse would have profound implications. Other regional hospitals would buckle under the stress of handling all of Grady’s former patients. Metro Atlanta would lose its only Level I Trauma Center. The state would lose its only poison control center, one of its two burn units, and the largest HIV/AIDS clinic in the state.
For the first time in recent history, local, state, and community leaders have mobilized around the issue of how to save Grady. WABE’s Steve Goss, Odette Yousef, and Kevin Keller look into how Grady’s financial situation got so bad, how to fix it, and how the debate has affected the community.
In this week-long series of interviews, you’ll hear about how a plan by local business leaders sparked a major debate over health care and race in Metro Atlanta. Georgia leaders, such as Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Senator David Shafer, will discuss the state’s role in the crisis. Grady’s Chief Executive Officer, Otis Story; civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery; a surgery resident at Grady; and the heads of Morehouse and Emory Medical Schools will also share their views. The project highlights ideas and the differences in opinion reflected in the community, though all agree on a common goal: Saving Grady.
- November 16, 2007
Dr. Rhonda Medows, Commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Community Health
Dr. Medows discusses administrative problems that have kept Grady from drawing down the maximum amount of federal reimbursements that it qualifies for. She also explains how changes in federal policy will endanger funding for all of Georgia’s hospitals, including Grady.
Otis Story, CEO of Grady Health Systems
Story says since he took over, Grady has already begun streamlining operations and finding ways to cut costs, but Grady still needs more money—and fast.He says if Grady doesn’t receive a major cash infusion by the end of 2007, Grady will be forced to shut its doors.
- November 15, 2007
Dr. Christian Vercler, Fourth Year Surgical Resident from Emory University
Vercler spends much of his time working in Grady along with several other area hospitals. He says Grady’s budget shortfalls have left the hospital in desperate need of up-to-date medical equipment and basic supplies, and when he is without such items, the level of care he can give to patients is compromised.
- November 14, 2007
Casey Cagle, Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
Lieutenant Governor Cagle says bad business policy is at the heart of Grady Hospital’s financial crisis. He discusses the state’s culpability for Grady’s financial shortfalls, and its role in the hospital’s future.
David Shafer, Georgia State Senator
Shafer explains why he’s proposed legislation that would force Grady to turn its governance over to a private, non-profit board.
- November 13, 2007
Dr. Thomas Lawley, Dean of the Emory School of Medicine
Dr. Lawley responds to accusations that Emory’s relationship with Grady is unfairly beneficial to the school, and explains why the partnership is an asset to the community.
Dr. John E. Maupin Jr, President of the Morehouse School of Medicine
Grady is the only hospital where Morehouse Medical School sends its residents. Dr. Maupin discusses how the hospital’s closure would have a devastating effect on the school, and why he supports the creation of a 501c3 governing board.
- November 12, 2007
Joe Beasley, Southern Regional Director for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
Joe Beasley calls the proposal to turn Grady’s governance over to a private, non-profit board “a white power grab.” Beasley says the Grady debate echoes racial conflicts of the past.
Dr. Joseph Lowery, member of the Grady Advisory Board; President Emeritus of the SCLC
Lowery refutes the notion that changing Grady’s governance is racist, but says it could erode the accountability that’s inherent in the current structure.
- November 9, 2007The 501c3 Solution: What Would it Mean for Grady and the Community?
Should Grady’s Board of Trustees give up their daily management of the health system? That’s the recommendation of several local business leaders, who say the board should contract those responsibilities out to a new group of directors. They claim that turning Grady into what is called a 501c3 non-profit, would allow Grady to raise more money. But opponents say that would decrease transparency and accountability. WABE’s Odette Yousef looks at the fears and facts of changing Grady’s governance.
Pete Correll, Co-Chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s “Greater Grady Task Force”
Correll explains why he and other business leaders believe Grady’s best hope for survival is to replace its governance structure. That idea has become the linchpin of community debate, and Correll addresses accusations that it’s a racist plan.
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