Pregnant patients scramble to find new providers due to Atlanta Medical Center closure

Expecting mother frustrated by announcement of Atlanta Medical Center closure weeks before due date

A DeKalb County mother said she was frustrated to learn her the midwife she was seeing would stop attending births at AMC on Oct. 10, about one month before the child is due.

At 32 weeks pregnant, Eva Bozeman learned this week she will no longer be able to deliver her baby with the medical providers at Atlanta Medical Center.

Citing financial issues with the hospital, Wellstar Health System announced Sept. 1 that it would close AMC, effective Nov. 1.

“Immediately I knew that there was something to be concerned about, but I wasn’t quite sure how problematic it would be for the practice that I was with,” Bozeman explained.

The DeKalb County mother said she went to an appointment with her midwife at Intown Midwifery on Monday.

“She was like, we still don’t really know what’s going on. We’re applying for emergency privileges at multiple different hospitals,” recalled Bozeman. “She was like, if this closure could’ve maybe happened in January, that’s an ample amount of time to get those emergency privileges, however, from the time that they’re telling us we have, it’s virtually impossible.”

Wednesday the practice sent patients an email and posted a message on their Facebook page that they would close their doors after 13 years: 

“We appreciate the patience and understanding from everyone these past two weeks. We’ve been faced with an impossible timeline to navigate and have explored every option to move forward with no attainable solution. Therefore, it is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we have to announce the closure of the practice.  We can attend births at AMC until 10/10/22 if patients choose to stay during that time.  Patients will be transferred out and oriented to new providers to ensure a safe transition and continuity of care.”  

With a due date of Nov. 7, Bozeman said she immediately began looking into other options.

“Places don’t accept people after certain amounts of weeks, especially people who have high-risk pregnancies. So, it was very stressful.  I mean, I called a couple places and they were like, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t do transfers after 25 weeks,’ or ‘;I’m sorry we don’t do transfers after 32 weeks.’  And I was like, I’m 32 weeks and two days and this isn’t my choice, you know?”  Bozeman said.

Eventually, because she is high-risk, Bozeman said she was able to get a referral through her maternal-fetal medicine provider and Intown Midwifery quickly transferred all her medical records to Piedmont Hospital.

FOX 5 Atlanta reached out to Wellstar for a comment on the situation. In a statement, the non-profit said:  

“Wellstar is currently partnering with the clinicians who deliver babies at AMC to ensure all their patients have a delivering hospital appropriate for their delivery date and care needs. Providers are actively working with their patients to make a delivery plan that is most appropriate for the health and well-being of both mother and baby. Every case is unique and each clinicians is committed to equipping every one of their patients with a plan that best fits their particular circumstances.

“We have had extensive discussions with the team at Intown Midwifery about their options to continue delivering at other Wellstar Health System facilities. We offered them a number of options that took into account, among other things, their practice style, services offered, office location and staff and patient home addresses. Unfortunately, they ultimately decided to close their practice and we understand they are working with other area practitioners to transfer care for their patients.”

Bozeman, however, said she believes Wellstar should have given providers and patients more advanced notice of their plans to shutter AMC.  

“I just feel terrible for the business that’s impacted from this,” said Bozeman. “AMC is a huge part of the community.  I think it’s really amazing that there are midwifery practices in the city and there aren’t that many of them.  So, it’s just, it’s just a shame that people in the community aren’t able to get those services that they might want or need.”