Grady to celebrate opening of new outpatient surgery tower

Planned before the closure of Atlanta Medical Center in downtown, the extra beds will be dedicated to outpatient services
Grady Memorial Hospital.

Grady Memorial Hospital.

After five years of planning, fundraising and building, Grady Health System on Monday will celebrate its new 10-story building for outpatient surgeries and other non-emergency services at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Planning and fundraising to pay for the new $230 million building had begun long before Wellstar Health System announced it would close Atlanta Medical Center downtown on Oct. 31. Many of those patients are now being seen at Grady instead, creating a need for even more expansion.

The event Monday is being called a grand opening for the Correll Pavilion, though Grady began moving in several weeks ago, hospital officials said.

The closure of AMC downtown eliminated about 200 beds, and much of that patient load went to Grady. Since then, Grady has seen a 40% increase in trauma volume, said Grady spokeswoman Danielle Hackett.

The Correll Pavilion will allow Grady to separate its inpatient services from its outpatient services. The new tower will house pre-planned services, and no one there will stay overnight. Those services include six operating rooms for outpatient surgeries; clinics for cancer infusion and other cancer care; and breast imaging, colonoscopies and other clinics. The new building sits alongside the main Grady building and is connected by a pedestrian bridge.

The relief of opening the new building won’t be as great as if AMC had not closed, but it is still a big help, hospital officials said.

After AMC’s closure, the state directed $130 million in federal funds to Grady to help deal with the influx from AMC. Grady will use that money to build 168 new beds in the main hospital, including two new intensive care units. There is as yet no additional ongoing funding to pay for increased staff and operations.

The Correll Pavilion was funded by Fulton and DeKalb counties and private donors. It’s part of a years-long strategy to make Grady more financially sustainable.

Caring for uninsured or underinsured emergency room walk-in patients is expensive. But outpatient surgery and cancer care are two services that can be lucrative. Grady’s problem was its claim to fame was emergency and trauma services. As a certified Level 1 trauma center, Grady treats trauma cases from around the state. With the closure of AMC, Grady became the only Level 1 hospital in metro Atlanta, staffed to handle the most critically ill or injured patients around the clock.

With a limited number of operating rooms in the main Grady hospital, too many trauma patients can push out less urgent patients.

The Correll Pavilion will help Grady maintain its outpatient services alongside traditional inpatient hospital beds.

“If we’re all one thing, then we’re not going to be viable or successful,” said Shannon Sale, Grady’s chief strategy officer. “We have to have a good balance, and we couldn’t do that if we didn’t have the capacity.”

The Correll Pavilion is named after Pete Correll, an Atlanta businessman who was instrumental more than a decade ago in pushing to rebuild Grady’s governance structure and invest in its infrastructure. The hospital was reportedly in danger of closing due to poor management and facilities.

According to a Grady press release, the Correll Pavilion is Grady’s largest investment in nearly 30 years, and contains 600,000 square feet of space. Its services include cancer, orthopedics, ophthalmology, outpatient surgery, and rehabilitation. It has expanded Grady’s clinical capacity by 45% and increased operating room volume by 25%.

About Correll Pavilion

Located near Grady Memorial Hospital and Georgia State University, Correll Pavilion’s address is 80 Gilmer St. SE, Atlanta. Its services include cancer, orthopedics, ophthalmology, outpatient surgery, and rehabilitation. More information