Georgia's largest public hospital in trouble

Consultants are warning that Georgia's largest public hospital, Grady Health System, can't survive financially unless it undergoes major management changes. Despite rounds of belt tightening, including an early retirement buyout extended to 400 workers, consultants are estimating that the hospital will face a $78 million shortfall by the end of 2007. What's more, the hospital's physical plant is in bad shape, its IT infrastructure is severely outdated and customer service is poor, according to turnaround consultants Alvarez & Marsal. To fix these problems, the consultants argue, it's critical to replace existing board members with others who have better hospital management skills. The hospital also needs to invest in buildings and equipment to the tune of about $200 million, consultants suggest. In addition, they'd like to see the hospital get patients from the emergency department and into rooms faster, as well as making sure patients are discharged as soon as appropriate. Grady Memorial is metro Atlanta's only Level 1 trauma center and handles about 900,000 visits a year, many by medically indigent patients.

To learn more about Grady's troubles:
- read this Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece