The board of trustees that operates Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta on Monday approved a lease agreement that would convert the financially troubled public facility to a nonprofit with a new governing board.

The move, which still must be approved by Fulton and DeKalb counties, is intended to attract $300 million in immediate and long-term funding. The Fulton-DeKalb County Hospital Authority has issued about $240 million of debt for Grady Memorial.

Grady faced a deficit of as much as $55 million at the end of 2007. Over the years, officials from Fulton and DeKalb counties have complained that other metro Atlanta counties and cities should step up to help fund the hospital.

Grady is the largest hospital in the area that provides coverage for the poor.

In order for the lease agreement to go into effect, several conditions must be met, including commitments to raise funds through donations from the business, charitable, and philanthropic communities.

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