New Correll Pavilion opens at Grady Hospital for outpatient services

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

When Grady Health System started planning for and building a new center for outpatient surgeries and other non-emergency services, no one could imagine what the medical landscape would look like today.

“We had no idea that by the time we opened we’d be the only Level 1 trauma center in Atlanta and the only safety net hospital,” said John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Health System, in reference to the closing of the Atlanta Medical Center last year. “Nor did we know that we would be facing a pandemic and so much has happened while this building was under construction and being conceived.”

On Monday Haupert joined others to celebrate its new 10-story building for outpatient surgeries and other non-emergency services at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Although the Monday event was billed as a grand opening for the Correll Pavilion, Grady began moving in several weeks ago, hospital officials said.

As politicians and business leaders gathered in the lobby, a steady stream of patients entered the building for services.

Credit: Natrice Miller /

Credit: Natrice Miller /

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 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.

Grady had planned to use the new building to free up space for 52 new beds. Then 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.

Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said in an interview before the event began that the timing of the opening “could not be better given Wellstar’s departure left us all in a lurch, particularly Grady…We have to figure out what path to take now to replace facilities in Central and South Fulton County.”

He said with the closure of the two Wellstar facilities in Central and South Fulton County people are relying more than ever on Grady hospital

James Dallas. a retired corporate executive, serves on Grady’s board and is a proud “Grady baby.”

“This is what makes Atlanta special – private and public partnerships,” he said. “The way you see how Atlanta is growing is to look at how Grady is growing. It’s like Grady’s growth is a barometer of overall Atlanta’s growth.”

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 open 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.

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

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. With the closure of AMC, Grady became the only Level 1 trauma center 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.

We have to have a good balance, and we couldn’t do that if we didn’t have the capacity,” said Shannon Sale, Grady’s chief strategy officer.

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