HEALTH & FITNESS
Cobb’s largest health
system continues growth
By Chart Riggall
Marietta-based Wellstar Health System has 11 hospitals,
more than 250 medical office locations, nine cancer
centers, 55 rehabilitation centers, three hospice facilities,
one retirement village, 21 imaging centers, 15 urgent care
locations and five health parks.
Marietta’s Wellstar Kennestone Hospital is one of four Joint
Commission Comprehensive Stroke Centers in Georgia
and is the only Joint Commission Certified Comprehensive
Cardiac Center in the state and seventh in the nation.
The health system has grown in recent years. In 2020, it
opened a new heart failure clinic. Among its features is an
outpatient clinic for patients with a history of heart failure
and cardiovascular disease, allowing some patients and
families to manage aspects of their care from home.
And in the summer of 2020, Wellstar unveiled a new
263,000-square-foot emergency department connected to
Kennestone Hospital. With 166 additional rooms, it is the
second largest emergency department in the nation.
Four stories tall, the department is built to handle
220,000 patients per year. It features separate entrances
and ambulance bays for pediatric and adult patients and a
dedicated pediatric wing with separate staff and equipment.
The new emergency wing has seen a lot of action in its
first year in operation. Opening in July 2020 during the
second local surge of COVID-19, Mary Chatman, president
of Kennestone and Windy Hill hospitals, said the new
capacity couldn’t have come any sooner.
158 FACTBOOK | 2022
“A long time ago, the emergency department … was built
to accommodate 50,000 visits per year. By the time we
completed construction for our new facility, we were seeing
close to 150,000,” Chatman said.
And although new coronavirus infections have, as of
mid-summer, dropped substantially from their winter peak,
traffic at the new emergency facility continues apace.
“There is a known phenomenon that is happening, and that
is, as COVID has decreased, we have patients who are coming
back to healthcare,” Chatman said. “Some of the patients had
delayed healthcare, and so now they’re catching up.”
Built with worst-case scenarios in mind, the new wing’s
features have the hospital in better shape to combat
the virus than a year ago. The emergency department
features multiple entrances for the general public and first
responders, and has the ability to isolate whole sections of
the wing in the event of an infectious disease outbreak.
Also at the beginning of last year, the nonprofit unveiled
the results of an 18-month “renewed listening journey”: a
total rebrand that trumpets personalized care.
The new Wellstar Kennestone Hospital Emergency Department.
Special — Wellstar Health System
Wellstar critical care nurse Amanda Earley received the Pfizer-
BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in December.