Atlanta Women's Medical Center
On their website the Center states,
- "Our facility is equipped with the best in modern medical equipment, and is staffed by a team of medical professionals who specialize in providing abortion services. Our physicians are dedicated to helping all patients, including those who have special needs or require second trimester abortion care... For many women, accessing abortion care can be difficult. We understand this, and we will use every resource available to help... AWMC is made up of a diverse and experienced group of people, who are committed to furthering the cause of reproductive rights both in and out of the office. Our staff members raise money for important causes, speak at schools, outreach events, and other functions, and further their own educations in order to give more back to the community... Atlanta Women’s Medical Center is like a family, and we truly believe that our team of staff members and medical professionals provide excellent care because they themselves are treated in a manner that shows respect and caring. The people who make up Atlanta Women’s Medical Center enjoy their work, and are challenged and inspired each day. We are always learning from our patients, and having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives encourages us to remember that the care we provide is necessary to sustain a world that values women, and all of us."
Other services offered by the Center include:
- Emergency Contraception
- Pregnancy Testing
- Options Counseling and Post-Abortion Counseling
- Ultrasound for Gestational Sizing
- Pap smears and Well Woman examinations
- STD testing and treatment for Chlamydia and gonorrhea
- Kenneth M. Twiddy, abortionist
- Nicolea Walker-Penn, receptionist
- Victoria Simmons, receptionist
- Audrey Foreman, medical assistant (January 2010 – March 2010)
- Allison Fuster
- Stacey Linn
- Alisa K. Frierson, APRN
- Golda Melnik, clinic administrator (as at Aug. 2005)
- Deborah F. Mitchell, in house counsel (as at March 1994)
- Elizabeth J. Appley (as at Aug. 2005)
According to the Georgia Department of Community Health State Licensure for Ambulatory Surgical Centers
- "Ambulatory surgical services provided in multistory buildings shall be accessible by an elevator of adequate size to accommodate date a standard wheeled litter patient and two attendants."
However the Atlanta Women's Medical Center is a two story facility with stairs only. In early 1994 the Center applied for a waiver from the Department which would allow them to continue operating at the facility without conforming to the regulation. On March 8 1994, the Department denied the request. However following a further appeal, the Department approved the request in a letter dated May 19, 1994. The waiver states that a staff member from the Atlanta Women’s Medical Center must escort patients down the stairs and to their vehicle in lieu of having elevator access.
The original 1994 waiver was for a 2-year term do to “substantial hardship” on the part of the abortion mill, and was subsequently renewed all the way until 2005. In 2005, the waiver was renewed for a 7-year term and expires on August 31, 2012. Not taken into account, however, appears to be the fact that the Atlanta Women’s Medical Center has posted in excess of$3 million in revenue per year for the past several years.
On October 20, 2011, a 911 call was placed for a patient who had complications with her abortion. When the ambulance arrived, the 911 dispatcher said that it took an excessive amount of time for the EMS team to reach and treat the patient. After complaints about the incident, surveyors from DCH were sent to investigate the facility. Even after substantiating multiple complaints that the waiver requirements were being violated as well as uncovering other violations (such as not having proper medical records of patients – including the patient who was injured), DCH refused to revoke their waiver and merely cited them with needing to adhere to requirements more closely.
Aug. 31 Decision
Initial Decision: After review of the file for Atlanta Womens Medical Center (AWMC), including the Application for Variance or Waiver, Statements of Deficiency, Complaint Intake and State Licensure, as well as public comments, the variance request for Rule 290-5-33-.10(f) is denied. The variance request failed to comply with the alternative standards to ensure the safety of patients as a condition of the current variance.
Further comments made by the Department are included verbatim below:
- "O.C.G.A.?31-2-7(b)(1) authorizes the Department to grant a variance upon a showing by the applicant that strict application would cause undue hardship.? Section 4 of the Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division's (HFRD) Application for Variance or Waiver (Application) instructs the applicant to detail ?Facts supporting a claim of substantial hardship for the applicant and which are believed to justify the variance or waiver.? In Section 4 of the Application AWMC stated, in relevant part, ?The AWMC's building does not have an elevator and it would not be feasible to construct an elevator on this site in order to access the second floor where the clinic facilities are located.? AWMC failed to supply facts, financial, architectural, or otherwise, showing why it would not currently be feasible to construct an elevator, relocate to the first floor, or otherwise come into compliance with the requirements of Rule 290-5-33-.10 (f) without causing undue hardship. Because AWMC failed to provide any facts showing the strict application of the rule would cause undue hardship, the Application is denied.
- Additionally, O.C.G.A. Sec. 31-2-7(b)(1) requres an applicant to show that adequate standards affording protection of health, safety, and care exist and will be met in lieu of the exact requirement of the rule. Section 5 of the Application instructs the applicant to set forth Alternative standards which the applicant agrees to meet instead of the rule. In Section 5 of the Application AWMC references an attached August 30, 2005 Georgia Department of Human Resources memorandum as setting forth the alternative standards that AWMC agrees to meet. AWMC is currently operating under a variance dated August 30, 2005 that required four (4) alternative standards upon which the variance was conditioned. According to HFRD records, AWMC has not been in compliance with one of the required alternative standards which reads: The facility will assess the patients condition at the time of discharge and determine the type of assistance and the number of escorts needed to help the patient safely down the staires. The faiclity will be required to maintain evidence of this assessment of patients, which must be provided to DHR upon request. At least one escort will accompany each patient down the stairs upon discharge.
- On November 11, 2011, during a complaint investigation at the facility, AWMC was found not in compliance with the above-referenced required alternative standard. During the investigation, a patient was observed by the surveyor leaving the facility post-procedure at 10:00 a.m. The post anesthesia care unit (PACU) supervisor talked with the patient in the waiting room prior to the patient's exit from the building. The patient walked down a flight of eighteen (18) stairs with a companion/designated driver unaccompanied by facility staff escort. An interview was conducted by the surveyor with the PACU supervisor at 12:00 p.m. in the Administrator's private office. The interviewee stated that he/she did not routinely escort patients down the stairs at discharge. He/she stated that it was his/her understanding that it was alright to discharge the patient at the door and allow the patient to walk down the stairs with his/her driver. The interviewee confirmed that he/she was not aware of the variance requirement for a facility staff escort to accompany each patient down the stairs upon discharge from the facility. AWMC failed to comply with the alternative standards to protect the health and safety of patients upon which the current variance is conditioned.
- Public comments were received on the variance request posted on the Secretary of State's website, reviewed in the waiver process, and taken into consideration. For the reasons set forth above the AWMC's Application for Variance or Waiver is denied. The decision to deny the waiver request dated July 17, 2012 for AWMC is final unless a written request is filed for an informal agency review of the denial within ten (10) days of your receipt of this notice. A written request for review must be addressed to Brian Looby, Division Chief, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division, 2 Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 31.447, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3167. If an informal agency review request is not received within the specified time period, the variance denial will become effective immediately.
Walk in My Shoes, Hear Our Voice
- "We are here today to reclaim our voices. We are rejecting legislation that is being considered or has passed that does not comply with the following principles for all of Georgia’s women: to determine when and whether to have children, to have a healthy pregnancy and birth; to become a parent and parent with dignity, and to have safe and healthy relationships and families."
Failed to Report "Statutory Rape"
In 2011, pro-life group Life Dynamics investigators rang multiple abortion businesses, posing as a 13yr-old girl who had got pregnant with her 22yr-old boyfriend. Life Dynamics called the Atlanta Women's Medical Center. Below is a partial transcript:
- Life Dynamics: "...I'm just kind of worried. My friend told me that, since I'll be 14 later on this month, that you guys would have to tell my parents. But my boyfriend's 22. Is he old enough to take care of it, and you wouldn't have to tell anybody?"
- AWMC: "So you're 13 right now?"
- Life Dynamics: "Right."
- AWMC: "Because of the laws in Georgia -- it's like a parental notification unless you have a legal bypass, which would be really the only way not to tell your parents, we would have to have a notarized letter by them if they didn't want to come... I'm just trying to get my co-worker's opinion because of your age. One woman I was talking to thinks that because of your age and because of his age, it would be considered statutory rape. And they don't know if that's something -"
- Life Dynamics: "But he's not -- what do you mean? He's not raping me or anything."
- AWMC: "No, no, no. It's a law. If you're under age and he's over age, they can technically consider that, even though he's not raping you, yes. So that's something that they may not allow for your parents not to know because of the difference in your age. I completely agree. Everyone says that-- it's consensual. But that's, in the eyes of the law, something you might face."
In all 50 states, sexual activity with underage children is illegal. Also, every state mandates that if a healthcare worker has reason to suspect that an underage girl is being sexually abused, they are required by law to report that information to a designated law enforcement or child protective services agency. That agency is then responsible to investigate the possibility that the child may be the victim of sexual abuse or statutory rape. Because the pregnancy of an underage girl is evidence that she is the victim of sexual abuse, any healthcare worker who has contact with a pregnant underage girl has an obligation to initiate a report to the state.
- In 2008 the Center committed 4,772 abortions and brought in a gross revenue of $3,407,520. Of the abortions, 2,413 were Black/African American.
- In 2009 the Center committed 4,564 abortions and brought in a gross revenue of $3,500,803. Of the abortions, 2,306 were Black/African American.
- In 2010 the Center committed 4,240 abortions and brought in a gross revenue of $3,225,296. Of the abortions, 2,454 were Black/African American.
- In 2011 the Center committed 4,121 abortions and brought in a gross revenue of $3,071,100. Of the abortions, 2,347 were Black/African American.
The Atlanta Women's Medical Center is a member organization of:
- Address: 235 W Wieuca Road Northeast Atlanta, GA 30342
- Phone: (404) 257-0057
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Atlanta Women's Medical Center: About (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- Georgia Hospital Association: Spreadsheet containing data on Georgia hospitals - Sheet: 2008 ASC Survey Data (accessed on Aug. 15, 2012)
- Atlanta Women's Medical Center: Other Services (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- AbortionDocs.org: Atlanta Women's Medical Center (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- Facebook: Nicolea Walker-Penn's profile (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- Victoria Simmons' profile on LinkedIn (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- Audrey Foreman's profile on LinkedIn (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- Facebook: Allison Fuster's profile (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- May 22, 2012 letter to Atlanta Womens Medical Center from the State
- Stacey Linn's profile on LinkedIn (accessed on Aug 14, 2012)
- Inspection check list May 2 2012 atlanta womens medical
- HealthGrades.com: Alisa K. Frierson, APRN (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)
- Letter from Ruby Durant, RN, BS; Deputy Director, Health Care Section, Georgia Dept. of Human Resources to Ms. Elizabeth J. Appley, re: Application for Waiver of Rule 290-5-33-.10(f) Atlanta Women's Medical Center, Inc.
- Waiver letter March 8th, 1994
- Letter from Elizabeth Appley applying for extension of waiver Aug. 5th, 2005
- DCH Healthcare Facility Regulation Division Rules: 290-5-33-.10(f)
- Letter from Dept. of Community Health Approving Waiver, May 19, 1994
- Atlanta Women's Medical Center: Finances
- Testimony from an individual who called the dispatcher that same day and asked about it. A request was made to obtain those operator notes, but no reply was given.
- State of GA Healthcare Facility Regulation Division: Summary Statement of Deficiencies and Plan of Correction for Atlanta Women's Medical Center, Nov. 22, 2011
- Atlanta Women's Medical Center: Revised Plan of Correction, Jan. 6, 2012)
- Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp website: Rules Waiver Register (searched for "Chapter 290 on Aug. 31, 2012)
- Hear Our Voice: Organizing Principle (accessed on Aug. 15, 2012)
- Life Dynamics: Transcript of undercover call to Atlanta Women's Medical Center (accessed on Aug. 15, 2012)
- Life Dynamics: Special Report - Child Predators
- Georgia Department of Community Health: 2008 Freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey
- Georgia Department of Community Health: 2009 Freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey
- Georgia Department of Community Health: 2010 Freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey
- Georgia Department of Community Health: 2011 Freestanding Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey
- Atlanta Women's Medical Center: About Us (accessed on Aug. 14, 2012)