Ohio Nurses, affiliated with National Nurses United, has weighed in on Issue 64.
— OhioNurses/NNU (@OhioNursesNNU) October 21, 2016
As NNU advises, vote nurses’ values. Vote Against 64.
Ohio Nurses, affiliated with National Nurses United, has weighed in on Issue 64.
— OhioNurses/NNU (@OhioNursesNNU) October 21, 2016
As NNU advises, vote nurses’ values. Vote Against 64.
For Immediate Release —
The revelations of a front page article in the Lakewood Observer have residents of Lakewood talking about what could be a brighter future for the city if a majority in Lakewood votes against Issue 64.
A vote against Issue 64 would reject the Cleveland Clinic’s escape from its lease on Lakewood Hospital. The Clinic owed Lakewood 278 million dollars under that lease, according to Cleveland Clinic documents uncovered in a taxpayers’ lawsuit against the Clinic and city officials.
In contrast, city officials terminated that lease in favor of a deal that gave the Clinic more than 100 million dollars of hospital assets for a mere 9.6 million dollars. The deal replaced Lakewood’s full service hospital with a “satellite” emergency department that is in reality little more than an urgent care center, unable to handle real emergencies like heart attacks, strokes, severe burns and head injuries. To make things worse, satellite emergency rooms like the one planned for Lakewood mean skyrocketing costs to consumers.
City officials are asking voters to approve the new agreement by voting for Issue 64.
But suspicions among Lakewood voters are reaching critical mass since this bombshell development just a few weeks ahead of the November election. Many feel that special interests have taken priority at city hall. Feedback from door to door canvasing and phone banking has demonstrated that voters are set to express their displeasure with city officials by voting against Issue 64, and overturning the deal that closed Lakewood Hospital.
Reference: citations for these latest revelations, including documents from the State Auditor and court proceedings.
In this fall’s vote on Issue 64, Lakewood will judge the legislation that closed our public hospital. But how many services actually shut down along with the hospital? How much is really gone if it remains closed and disused?
Here’s the Cleveland Clinic’s web page for Lakewood, today. It lists more than a dozen services.
Here’s the archived web page of Lakewood Hospital in late 2015. It includes those services plus at least 15 more major specialties. Lakewood Hospital provided all of the following services, all gone under the Issue 64 deal:
It’s worth noting that the services at Lakewood Hospital were so extensive that nine separate offerings were combined under just two headings: Neurological, and Rehabilitative Services. By contrast, the current list is padded out by making four or five “services” out of tests that could all be grouped together as “radiology.”
Issue 64 isn’t quality care, it’s severely limited care plus a lot of marketing. We deserve a better deal.
Vote against Issue 64.
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Few people are more qualified to comment on the future of Lakewood Hospital than Nancy Roth, who has served on city council and as executive director of Health Systems Agency of North Central Ohio. While on Lakewood City council, Roth took part in negotiating the 1996 lease of Lakewood Hospital, which Issue 64 tears up.
In a letter to the Sun Post Herald, Roth writes that “it never crossed my mind that it would be purposefully dismantled,” or “that Council would adopt an ordinance including a non-compete clause giving the Clinic power over the use of a city-owned facility.”
Roth advises voters that “What has happened to Lakewood Hospital is wrong… but it’s not over!” Please read the entire letter, and act on her call to vote AGAINST Issue 64.
Cleveland Clinic’s documents confirm liability to hospital through 2026
For Immediate Release —
A key argument for breaking the Cleveland Clinic’s lease on Lakewood Hospital and closing the facility has collapsed – courtesy of the Cleveland Clinic.
Tuesday’s Lakewood Observer broke the story of a Cleveland Clinic document acknowledging, unambiguously, a $278 million liability to the city under a lease which Lakewood council members voted to discard as part of the deal that closed the hospital.
As the story’s author Brain Essi notes, the Clinic document completely disproves arguments that Lakewood Hospital could not have remained open through the lease’s 10 remaining years. Lakewood city law director Kevin Butler’s contrary opinion was, Essi adds, “the most important reason cited by City Council when they authorized Butler to negotiate” an agreement terminating the lease and closing the hospital.
The Observer story has city officials who helped craft and support the hospital deal scrambling, as painfully obvious shortcomings leave voters wondering what motivations lie behind such a bad deal. In four weeks, Lakewood voters can reject the deal that closed the hospital by voting against issue 64.
Essi’s front-page story about the deal presents multiple reasons for a vote against 64. In addition to the $278 million liability, another document discovered during an ongoing lawsuit predicted that closing the city’s hospital would shift 5,000 patient visits to Clinic-owned hospitals, bringing an extra annual profit of $11.5 million for the Cleveland Clinic System.
In comparison, the Clinic paid only $9.6 million to acquire hospital assets and associated benefits, Essi suggests. Citing the city’s own Combined Annual Financial Review, Essi says that “The CAFR was prepared by the State Auditor’s office so the $9.6 million number is not subject to debate.” The report is particularly inconvenient for supporters of the hospital deal, who have claimed that it brings Lakewood more than $100 million in new investment.
Essi’s background compounds the difficulty in defending the controversial hospital closing. A licensed attorney since 1984, Essi has long experience with complex sales and issues of liability. He is also a director of a medical practice. By his own estimate, Essi has spent more than 2,000 hours on the Lakewood Hospital issue on a volunteer basis. Essi is available for interview.
Public opinion is not in city hall’s favor as more and more Lakewood citizens plan to vote against issue 64.Read More
Help win the campaign Against Issue 64 by dining with Angelo’s Pizza.
Wednesday, October 26, Angelo’s will donate 20% of any food or soft drink purchase! Just mention Save Lakewood Hospital with your order, and help fund efforts to reject the liquidation of our hospital. Carry-out, delivery and gift card purchases are also eligible to help the fundraiser.
Angelo’s is located at 13715 Madison Ave., and open from 11 a.m. to midnight on October 26.
The newest Lakewood Observer delivers further thoughtful, informed criticism of Issue 64.
Some officials apparently find the objections to 64 so troubling, meanwhile, that they have chosen to retreat from them; on Tuesday, the Observer‘s publisher reported that a newspaper which community leaders have praised for a decade has been blocked from entering City Hall. Despite the presence of multiple articles on both sides of the issue, it seems that the proponents of Issue 64 would rather avoid contrary views than engage with them.
For those willing to give the case against Issue 64 a hearing, however, the current Observer is well worth reading. Pick up a free copy at businesses and other sites around Lakewood, and let them know that you appreciate their support for open dialogue. Among the comments in this issue:
The Cleveland Clinic’s records confirm that it owed Lakewood more than $270 million under the terms of its former lease on Lakewood Hospital—flatly contradicting the claim of Issue 64 proponents.
PJ Bennett raises a number of interesting points about the lease which Issue 64 tears up, including a reminder that even the Cleveland Clinic is required to abide by a lease’s terms, even when it doesn’t want to.
“Sorting Out Issue 64” takes a detailed look at the actual agreement up for a public vote this November, and confirms that Issue 64 will allow Lakewood’s ER to shut down at any time.
One Lakewood resident provides a frank account of another recent, desperate effort to keep only one point of view represented in the debate about Issue 64.
A local author addresses fears that Lakewood is stuck with a bad deal, no matter what, by reviewing our history and reminding us that Lakewood’s people can make better options happen, and have done so again and again. As he writes, “This fall we have another chance to continue our Lakewood story… we can vote against a needlessly closed hospital, and against a retreating, declining Lakewood that settles for less.”
A vote against Issue 64 won’t cost taxpayers. Why would it?
Lakewood can’t be saddled with debt, because Lakewood Hospital was not in debt. Nor will the city be required to run Lakewood Hospital at a loss. The hospital was never taxpayer-subsidized in more than 100 years, and in fact made consistent profits that benefited the community up until the last year of Cleveland Clinic management.
Voting against Issue 64 won’t land the city with huge legal bills, either. Fighting over Lakewood Hospital in court has actually been the choice of the groups who support 64, again and again.
In this and other ways, the Issue 64 plan is the real drain on Lakewood’s finances and taxpaying public.
To keep Lakewood financially strong in the years ahead, we should vote against Issue 64.
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Lakewood residents are taking up pens and keyboards to argue against Issue 64. In the past week, parents, financial experts, business owners, progressive activists and regular citizens have dispatched letters to local newspapers urging a vote against the deal that closed Lakewood Hospital.
Tara Peppard, Lakewood resident and CSU Physics Laboratory Operations Manager, writes “Other parties were indeed interested in running [Lakewood Hospital]. Do your due diligence to remove the restrictive covenant that limits healthcare in Lakewood and demand a genuine RFP process for the best possible deal with your vote AGAINST ISSUE 64.”
Tristan Rader, Operations Director of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, writes “What is happening, here in our community, is symptomatic of a larger problem… We are moving away from more accessible healthcare… I am voting AGAINST Issue 64.”
Matt Kuhns, owner of design studio Modern Alchemy LLC, writes “a vibrant city twice the size of Avon has other options for our hospital besides leaving it unused. Issue 64 will only hold Lakewood back.”
Attorney Brian Essi analyzes Issue 64 and concludes that this deal “has caused $107M in taxpayers’ healthcare assets to leave Lakewood, it will cost taxpayers $22M in income taxes over the next 11 years, and… gave away $55M in capital improvements to taxpayers’ assets.”
PJ Bennett points out that recent statements by Lakewood’s fire chief confirm that emergency care in Lakewood—already diminished without a hospital—is not guaranteed under Issue 64.
Publicist and Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young sums up the conclusions of many, writing that “With all of the positive things happening in Lakewood, we shouldn’t be about settling for less. Our city has an obligation to protect lives, an opportunity to restore jobs and a duty to keep Lakewood strong. …Vote AGAINST Issue 64.”
In 2015, Lakewood CPA Marguerite Harkness presented city council with the only current economic impact study on Lakewood Hospital. In cooperation with other experienced professionals among Save Lakewood Hospital membership, Harkness concluded that our hospital’s total contribution to Lakewood’s economy was nearly $300 million per year.
No one else, whether Lakewood government or hospital trustees or paid consultants, has prepared any alternative study. But is there any independent corroboration of this estimate? And what does it mean, now, with the hospital currently closed and a public vote pending?
In fact, there is another source that supports the results of Harkness’s study—the Cleveland Clinic’s own 2015 Economic Impact Report.
According to an archived news release from the Cleveland Clinic, its total contribution to Ohio’s economy was $12.6 billion in 2013. The same press release notes that the Clinic directly employed more than 48,000 people in Ohio.
Dividing $12.6B by 48,000 results in an economic impact of $260,000 per employee. Lakewood Hospital employed around 1,100 people.
The full economic impact of 1,100 hospital employees, based on the Clinic’s report, is therefore $286,000,000. That’s within a few percent of the Save Lakewood Hospital study.
Meanwhile, both figures are annual figures. Losing the economic contribution of Lakewood Hospital won’t be a one-time problem which the city can simply deal with and move on from. If the hospital stays closed, and the most interested replacement operators remained locked out, that means Lakewood’s economy is hundreds of millions short of our potential, year after year.
The real cost of the Issue 64 plan is much bigger than the immediate cost. It’s the cost to our future.
To keep Lakewood strong today and in the future, vote against 64.
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This Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m., help get out the vote against Issue 64
Join State Senator Michael J. Skindell at our GOTV kickoff Sept. 24. Enjoy pizza & snacks, as we outline the many ways that volunteers can help us repeal the deal that threatens the strength of our community.
Afterward we’ll roll up our sleeves and get started together. If you haven’t campaigned before, this is a great chance to get help from friends who know the ropes. See you Sept. 24 at noon—rain or shine!—at at 11910 Detroit Ave.
Issue 64 is our first and only direct public vote on the deal that closed Lakewood Hospital. Your help can make the difference!
The vote on Issue 64, whatever its outcome, will not mean Lakewood has to go to court. But one side in the debate over 64 and Lakewood Hospital has shown a consistent preference for the courtroom.
In 2015, Lakewood residents concerned by mismanagement of our publicly owned hospital called on city and hospital officials to enforce the terms of its lease to the Cleveland Clinic. Thousands of citizens supported the call for officials to defend Lakewood’s rights throughout the lease’s remaining decade. Local officials declined even to attempt doing so. Citizens then reluctantly suggested that they would seek judicial enforcement of our rights if necessary—but delayed the final step of a court filing for several more weeks in hope that City Hall would reconsider.
Since then, citizen plaintiffs have made every effort to minimize the burden on the courts and taxpaying public. Five residents represent thousands of other Lakewoodites, in order to avoid the avalanche of costly paperwork which would have accompanied a larger official number of plaintiffs. In December, cleveland.com reported the judge advising an out-of-court resolution:
“I’m of the opinion that some meaningful mediation would be helpful here,” [Judge John] O’Donnell told the attorneys. “I’m of that opinion, but I can’t force it.” O’Donnell said if the parties agreed, he or another judge could mediate or the parties could hire an outside mediator.
City and hospital officials declined to explore this option. Citizens’ legal counsel, by contrast, “said he would be open to mediation.” In his exact words, “We’re always willing to talk and try to resolve matters.”
That’s worth keeping in mind, whenever someone tries to claim that Issue 64’s opponents want to keep the city tied up in court.
State Senator Michael J. Skindell and other members of the Save Lakewood Hospital Committee, along with former congressman Dennis Kucinich, invite you to attend a fundraiser in support of the campaign to defeat Issue 64 and protect the health of our city:
A Fundraising Reception for Save Lakewood Hospital
Tuesday, September 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Emerald Necklace Marina Waterside Room
1500 Cleveland Metropark Drive, Lakewood
Donors are invited to sponsor a table (includes six tickets) for $300 or purchase one ticket for $150; sponsorship at either level will be acknowledged in the evening’s program. Individual tickets are also available for $50.
For information or to RSVP, call (216) 586-2401 or download a reservation form here.
Donations to Save Lakewood Hospital are also welcome at any time, though your contribution is not tax-deductible.
The deal on this fall’s ballot as Issue 64 is a bad deal by itself: a closed hospital, downgraded local services and a financial soaking. But it’s also an important choice about our broader future as a city. Is Issue 64’s junior-partner role the best that Lakewood can do now? Or will we remain a vibrant Lakewood, that can stand on its own in a competitive environment?
We believe that Lakewood can and should keep fighting to make the best we can of our city. It’s for this reason that our current campaign encourages voters to vote against 64, and to keep Lakewood strong.
The campaign for a strong Lakewood draws on important work taking place locally, and in other cities making progress with similar challenges. The Strong Towns project, an independent national nonprofit, is a powerful advocate for this work. Their web site, events, podcasts and videos offer rich context for the need to keep our cities—including Lakewood—strong.
Strong Towns emphasizes values and ideas which inform our campaign against 64, and which outline a better path to follow instead. Some characteristics of a strong city:
Above all, “Strong cities, towns and neighborhoods cannot happen without strong citizens (people who care).” Please help keep Lakewood strong, too.
City Officials Set Course for Decline
In Lakewood, there are signs of a city on the rise. Property values are up, city parks are beautiful and trendy new restaurants are opening. Hanging over this positive trend is a a plan for a city in decline: the plan that closed Lakewood Hospital. Oddly enough, it was designed and advocated by city officials. As court documents and public records requests bring more and more disturbing facts behind the closure to light, citizens can’t help wondering if city officials are careless or flat-out corrupt. More and more citizens plan on voting against the ordinance in the upcoming November election.
Here are some of the facts that, more and more, reveal a process as bad as the deal.
Many people assumed that the closing of Lakewood Hospital had to do with national trend towards centralized health care. But time and investigation is proving that this is not the case. The city’s hospital has been closed by city officials, whose interest in pleasing the Clinic has for suspicious reason taken priority over the interests of the citizens they are pledged to represent.
As the vote to overturn the ordinance that closed the hospital looms in November’s election, determination to reassert the people’s role in keeping Lakewood strong is growing.
Lakewood’s emergency room no longer has a hospital attached, which means that heart attack, stroke and other critical patients who arrive must be transferred elsewhere.
It still provides a place to turn, here in Lakewood, 24 hours a day. But there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so.
The agreement which closed Lakewood Hospital addresses emergency care. But the Emergency Services section (on page four) begins by saying that “there is a present need for an emergency department in Lakewood, available on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year basis.” Not a permanent need.
The agreement states that the Cleveland Clinic “will address this need by opening the FHC [Family Health Center] with an emergency department.” After that, however, “The need for emergency services may change” and will be subject to “ongoing evaluation.”
No agreement which includes language like this guarantees 24/7 emergency care.
That isn’t a hypothetical issue for many years from now, either. The Cleveland Clinic has already decided that northeast Ohio communities do not need a 24/7 ER or any local emergency care at all. Last November, the Clinic shut down a freestanding ER in Sagamore Hills with exactly one month’s warning—and told residents that converting the ER to an Express Care office actually benefited them.
According to the Clinic, “This new level of care will better serve residents” compared with the ER it replaced.
The deal that closed Lakewood Hospital doesn’t guarantee 24/7 emergency care close to home—it risks leaving our city without local emergency care at all. Vote against Issue 64 to give Lakewood a better future instead.
This November 8, Lakewood will vote on the deal to close Lakewood Hospital, which will appear on ballots as Issue 64.
Because the Board of Elections assigns issue numbers to cities in the alphabetical order of their names, a number may be reused in multiple years. But Issue 64 in the 2016 election is a new choice: the first and only direct public vote on closing Lakewood Hospital. We have a choice to vote for, or against the ordinance that closed the hospital.
Issue 64 will appear on the ballot as follows:
To vote against the deal that closed Lakewood Hospital, vote AGAINST the ordinance on Issue 64.
Defeating the deal will send a clear message that Lakewood is not going to settle for second-class status, and that it’s time to reopen our great city to the much better options awaiting us. For more about this choice, visit stronglakewood.com.
Lakewood’s main library is the place to get informed about the upcoming vote on Lakewood Hospital.
This November, local voters will make a choice for or against a city ordinance closing Lakewood’s publicly owned hospital. With early voting coming up even sooner, voters are invited to learn the details of this choice at a public Q&A, at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13.
Everyone attending the free event can take home a voter guide with information from the Board of Elections. Along with the issue number for this vote, which the board will announce this month, the guide will include ballot language and important voting deadlines. Panelists at the event will talk about these basics as well, along with the facts and background of this big decision.
Following the brief presentation, panelists will take audience questions on any and all aspects of the pending vote. The evening’s panel will feature experienced representatives from law and government, including leaders of Save Lakewood Hospital.
Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young says that “This evening is local democracy at its simplest and best. Community leaders will sit down with neighbors, and discuss the issues and process of an important vote, face to face.”
The Sept. 13 event will take place at Lakewood’s main library, 15425 Detroit Avenue, in the first-floor multipurpose room. (The entrance to the multipurpose room is reached through the children’s department.) Advance registration is required as seating is limited, but all are encouraged to sign-up while spaces last by calling (216) 586-2401. There is no cost to register.
Thank you to everyone who made yesterday’s campaign kick-off potluck a big success—especially the many new friends who turned out to join us. Your support will make the difference in getting a better deal for the great community we all love.
Anyone looking to get involved, or stay involved, can call (216) 586-2401 any time about volunteer opportunities, or read about other ways to help.
The Lakewood Democratic Club is considering whether to endorse voting against the ordinance that closed Lakewood Hospital. Thursday evening, a very large turnout heard statements for and against.
Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young, and vice chair Tom Monahan, spoke against the ordinance:
The club will address a possible endorsement at its next meeting on September 29.
A brief update on some of the things happening and coming up, as August advances:
The Cleveland Clinic has mailed a postcard to Lakewood residents, digging in on misleading claims about its freestanding emergency department. No one should be fooled; the claim that Clinic physicians “skillfully treat… cardiac arrest and stroke” is still carefully separated from any promise that they do so in Lakewood. The don’t, and no one should turn to Lakewood’s ER for anything other than delays in real treatment for these conditions.
Meanwhile, this glossy advertisement makes another promise, less directly dangerous but even more plainly false: “In Lakewood. For Lakewood.” Really?
You are cordially invited to meet and mingle, at two upcoming free events:
Sunday, September 4, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Kiwanis Pavilion at Lakewood Park
Join in as we kick off campaign season, and get the scoop on what we’re doing to win & how you can help! Bring a dish to share, and drinks for yourself and guests. Ice will be provided along with
RSVP for this free event at 216-586-2401. Volunteers are welcome, too!
Sunday, August 21, 1 p.m.
Madison branch library, 13229 Madison Ave.
Independent experts in medicine, law and finance will offer their perspectives on healthcare in Lakewood, and November’s hospital referendum. Local pulmonologist Dr. Terry Kilroy and other panelists will give a brief presentation, followed by an open question-and-answer session.
The forum is free to attend, but please register in advance by calling 216-586-2401. (You’ll receive a confirmation call within 24 hours.)
The next forum is scheduled for Sept. 13, check back for more details!
Remember the backyard hens? Remember how long city council spent considering whether or not to permit hens in Lakewood yards? The Lakewood Observer records council debating this modest question at least as far back as 2011. This May, council finally voted on this issue… having deemed at least five years necessary to judge any settled, permanent policy… and even then approved only a limited number of licenses.
Yet members of council take offense at the very suggestion that their disposal of Lakewood Hospital was premature.
Confronted with one objection after another from the public, and finally with thousands of signatures petitioning to overturn the hospital’s closing, council members have insisted that they did everything which could be done. Time and again they have repeated that they spent a whole 11 months studying the issue. Asked for a formal, open bidding process, council responds that due diligence was performed. How then, they ask, can citizens possibly justify starting over again?
Perhaps because 11 months’ study is apparently inadequate for backyard hens, and just might not guarantee a thorough examination of Lakewood’s largest employer, either?
Help out Save Lakewood Hospital by dining with Angelo’s Pizza this August.
Tuesday, August 2, Angelo’s will donate 20% of any food or soft drink purchase! Just mention Save Lakewood Hospital with your order, and help fund efforts to overturn the shutdown of our hospital. Carry-out, delivery and gift card purchases are also eligible to help the fundraiser.
Angelo’s is located at 13715 Madison Ave., and open from 11 a.m. to midnight on August 2.
Local doctors will answer questions about the future of Lakewood healthcare next Tuesday evening, at a free public forum on July 26 hosted by Save Lakewood Hospital.
Young and old are invited to share in a discussion of the choices offered by an autumn referendum on the controversial deal to close Lakewood Hospital, along with related issues.
“This forum is a chance to hear from independent doctors about our options, at this point, for securing our community’s long-term access to healthcare,” said Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young.
“Our panelists aren’t on a private payroll,” Young said, “and they’re free to answer audience questions about these challenges honestly. This will be a spin-free, straight talk discussion tethered to the real needs of our citizens rather than to big-money interest groups.”
The planned panel includes Dr. Terry Kilroy, a Lakewood pulmonologist with nearly four decades’ experience in critical medicine, and Dr. Ashoka Nautiyal, another local independent practitioner. The doctors will be joined by professionals in law and finance, and co-chairs of the Save Lakewood Hospital committee local CPA Marguerite Harkness and Tom Monahan.
The forum is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., July 26 in the lower-level meeting room (Mr. Winton’s Den) at Winton Place, 12700 Lake Avenue. Advance registration is required as seating is limited, but all are encouraged to sign-up while spaces last by calling (216) 586-2401. There is no cost to register.
The ongoing project to turn Lakewood’s publicly owned hospital into a private health center has a big price tag. Selling people a deal they don’t want is expensive: consultants, advertising, direct mail, etc. Add fees on top of more fees, and the asset write-downs of a no-bid deal.
Then quietly charge it all to taxpayers.
This has been the consistent story behind closing Lakewood Hospital, so far. It’s also the simplest, bottom-line argument for voting against the deal in November and introducing some fiscal discipline to a pricey boondoggle. The direct costs, alone, already run into the hundreds of millions.
For a real sense of the scale of this deal’s expense, it may help to start small and work up from there.
$300: the approximate hourly rate paid by Lakewood to Thompson Hine beginning in April 2015, “in connection with negotiations with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Lakewood Hospital Association, Inc., relating to Lakewood Hospital.” Between then and the negotiated deal announced six months later, a three-digit total of billable hours seems plausible, at least.
$50,000: paid by Lakewood Hospital Association—which officially existed to run a public hospital on our behalf—to a political group that opposed public input on the hospital’s future.
$500,000: paid by Lakewood Hospital Association to Subsidium, for a study so inadequate that city council commissioned the Huron study to review it.
$78,000,000: anticipated costs of “winding down” operations of Lakewood Hospital. These costs are poorly explained at present—but according to Mayor Mike Summers, the Cleveland Clinic may pay only a small portion of them.
This November 8, Lakewood will hold a referendum on the deal to close Lakewood Hospital.
The referendum is a simple, straightforward vote on the legislation by which city council closed our hospital: for the deal or against it.
The Board of Elections will assign the referendum an issue number in early September. [Update: the deal will be Issue 64.] But the referendum is officially scheduled to be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, and the wording is specified by the city charter of Lakewood:
The ballot used when voting upon any ordinance subject to referendum shall state the title of the ordinance to be voted on and below it the two propositions “For the Ordinance” and “Against the Ordinance”.
The deal between City Hall and the Cleveland Clinic to close Lakewood Hospital was passed as Ordinance 49-15. As the ballot is readied over the coming months, Save Lakewood Hospital will ensure that the requirements of the charter are observed and respected. In the meantime the most important thing to keep in mind is:
This November you can vote against the deal to close Lakewood Hospital, by doing just that. Vote “Against the Ordinance” in the referendum on the deal.
Defeating the deal will send a clear message that Lakewood is not going to settle for second-class status, and that it’s time to reopen our great city to the much better options awaiting us. For more about this choice, visit stronglakewood.com.
Today’s Independence Day parade was an outstanding reminder of how much our community can achieve, together.
A cross-section of Lakewood showed up to support Lakewood Hospital and a genuine, positive vision for our city. Young and old marched together behind a common banner:
Save Lakewood Hospital invites you to join us in Lakewood’s Independence Day parade, Monday, July 4. The parade begins at 10 a.m. Please walk with us and show your support for a better deal.
We will gather for the parade at 9:30 a.m., at the corner of Lake Ave and Kenneth Drive. (Our official spot in the parade is #13 in the green section. We are behind A To Z Wedding Planners and in front of Ganley Chevrolet Brookpark.)
Please wear red!
If you drive, you can park at the end of the parade route in Lakewood Park, where there will be a shuttle available to transport drivers, only. If you have other parade participants in your car, you must drop them off at Kenneth & Lake, and then go park your car.
Lakewood can do better than a downsizing plan, and with your help, we will!
Lakewood citizens continue to fight back against the big bluff, i.e. that losing a hospital is just fine and nothing to worry about.
On June 20, activists successfully challenged a staged PR event at City Hall, drawing attention to the fact that doctors not employed by the Cleveland Clinic warn of serious risks when hospital facilities are removed from an ER.
As part of an ongoing PR campaign, Dr. Judith Welsh of the Cleveland Clinic appeared before City Council to claim that Lakewood’s “freestanding” emergency department maintains the same level of service as it did before the Clinic extracted the assets of community-owned Lakewood Hospital.
Confirming that this was simply another misleading commercial, rather than an honest discussion, “Welsh did not remain after her presentation to answer questions from the audience” as cleveland.com reports. That audience included an experienced, independent cardiologist:
Dr. Terence Kilroy, a Lakewood pulmonologist who is not a Clinic employee, raised questions about how paramedics determine whether a patient should be taken to the Lakewood emergency department or an emergency department with an attached hospital. He also said the Cleveland Clinic in the past has not communicated with him about his patients when they were brought in through the Lakewood emergency department.
Thanks to the efforts of Save Lakewood Hospital and other concerned citizens, the people of Lakewood will approach this November’s referendum able to make their own choice, independently.
(For more photos from June 20, see this gallery at the Lakewood Observer.)
For Immediate Release —
Growing dissatisfaction with Lakewood’s freestanding emergency room (or “ER”) is boiling over, and has led to what will be a full blown protest rally on Monday, June 20, at 6 PM outside Lakewood City Hall. This demonstration comes as The Cleveland Clinic attempts to quash growing alarm over the facility’s obvious shortcomings. Chief among the shortcomings is the lack of a life-saving cardiac catheterization lab, and other services that are critical in the event of a heart attack, stroke, severe head injury or other life-threatening illness. These life-saving services are offered at ERs attached to full service hospitals, not at freestanding ERs.
The rally is scheduled ahead of tonight’s Lakewood City Council meeting where Dr. Judith Welsh of the Cleveland Clinic will give a presentation extolling what services the ER does offer, most of which are offered at urgent care centers at far lower prices.
But what will Dr. Welsh say to ease the very real concerns about the ER’s critical care shortcoming when it comes heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening events? It will not be an easy sales pitch, given the fact that prudent health care workers agree that ERs like the one in Lakewood cannot provide definitive care in these instances.
Notably, Dr. Terry Kilroy of The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee asserts that in an event like a heart attack or stroke, a stop at Lakewood’s ER delays definitive treatment, often critically reducing the chance of full recovery and increasing the chance of death.
Dr. Kilroy knows what he is talking about. He has almost four decades’ experience as a pulmonary critical care specialist in Lakewood and has a five star rating on WebMD.com. Dr. Kilroy will be available for comments and interviews at tonight’s meeting. Other doctors are scheduled to speak about the ER’s shortcomings as well.
The bottom line is simple. In the event of a heart attack, stroke or other severe injury, Lakewood’s ER can not deliver definitive treatment and worse, a stop there delays it, potentially leaving Lakewood lives in peril. This city of almost 52,000 is in the midst of a full blown health care crisis, created by the closure of its community owned full service hospital. Responsibility for this crisis rests squarely on the shoulders of elected city officials who blindly voted to close the once profitable, life saving facility.
Help out Save Lakewood Hospital by dining at Bob Evans this June. Every Wednesday in June, the Lakewood Bob Evans will donate 15% of your purchase to Save Lakewood Hospital when you present this flier.
The participating dates are: June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22 and June 29. Bob Evans is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and located at 14115 Detroit Ave in Lakewood.
Download this flier and bring a printout with you, make a purchase any Wednesday in June, and 15% goes to Save Lakewood Hospital. That’s it—thank you!
For Immediate Release —
The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee today released a letter which former Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich personally delivered to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Friday, May 13, 2016 which asks the FTC to determine if the Cleveland Clinic failed to make a required filing under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (H-S-R), in its machinations involving its planned termination of in-patient care at Lakewood Hospital.
Kucinich, who served Lakewood and the greater Cleveland area in the US House for 16 years submitted the filing as part of a continuing battle at the FTC which began with an extensive brief filed last October.
In the latest complaint, (see attachments) Kucinich raises three points:
Marguerite Harkness, Chair of the Save Lakewood Hospital Committee, said, “Congressman Kucinich has raised serious questions which deserve the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. He is speaking for many people in the community who feel that the entire Lakewood Hospital deal stinks.”
Tom Monahan, Vice-Chair of Save Lakewood Hospital Committee said, “It is inspiring that Kucinich repeatedly comes to our defense when our own local public officials keep selling us out. He’s still involved and that’s very good for our community.”
Save Lives, Save Jobs, Save Lakewood, Save Lakewood Hospital
Lakewood City Hall and the Cleveland Clinic have been attempting to do an end-run around “interference” with their agenda for more than a year. As far back as January 2015, officials informed media that “Cleveland Clinic and the Lakewood Hospital Association will close Lakewood Hospital” as though nothing more would be said. Their fantasy quickly ran into the reality that a community-owned hospital is not a commodity to be traded around at private whim.
After 16 months of shell-games and evasions, officials’ actions face review by an ongoing lawsuit and a November referendum. Yet they continue to proceed as though they can bluff their way past all resistance. In the most recent Lakewood Observer, multiple residents take note of this ongoing bluff and demonstrate that it’s failing. “Burying the Hospital Alive” points out that city council—after choosing to schedule a referendum on closing the hospital in November—is proceeding as though the measure is already approved. In “Bad Government” part five, citizen investigator Brian Essi continues to detail how city officials have attempted to bury records of their actions while holding publicly-paid office.
Yet, as “Field Of Dreams Part Deux” confirms, too many people have taken up shovels for city hall’s information-landfill to succeed. Word is getting out about things like MetroHealth’s proposal to operate Lakewood Hospital, which demolishes false claims that the Cleveland Clinic’s decanting plan was the only option on offer. As the author writes:
Our civic leadership has no credible plan capable of replacing the economic engine that they have intentionally shut down. Over the balance of its now-canceled leased, Lakewood Hospital would have generated more than a billion dollars of economic impact. This is a conservative estimate that only assumes the continued operation of the hospital through the current lease period and not after 2026.
Did our civic leaders understand that they were shutting down a billion dollars’ worth of economic flow when they rejected the Metro Health System proposal? It seems not. If you were selling your house, you would have it appraised before putting it on the market. If our civic leaders had the operations or assets of Lakewood Hospital appraised by independent professionals, those appraisals have never been made public. If they didn’t have such a valuable asset appraised, then shame on them.
All of these basic, common-sense practices—an independent appraisal, a public RFP, and open bidding—can still be performed when Lakewood says no to the alternative of lazy, prefab policy-making. Voters will have their choice on November 8.
Q: The hospital is already closed. Isn’t it a done deal?
A: The hospital facility still belongs to Lakewood, and the legislation that closed it will be on November’s ballot as Issue 64, for voters to approve or reject. Lakewood can reject it and instead pursue a genuine, open bidding process for new partners to operate our hospital.
Q: Didn’t we already vote on this last fall?
A: No. Last year’s election was to amend the city charter, not to close the hospital. Even if that Issue had passed, the public would still face a vote to approve a closing. (The Board of Elections assigns issue numbers to cities based on their names’ place in the alphabet, and Lakewood issues generally fall in a similar place; therefore the deal will appear on 2016’s ballot as Issue 64.)
Q: If we reject the deal it will cost us more?
A: No. A vote against 64 can improve our options by permitting market bidding for some or all hospital assets, but cannot impose additional costs. Lakewood can’t end up on the hook for debt, because the hospital was not in debt. The city would not have to run the hospital at a loss, either. Lakewood Hospital was never taxpayer-subsidized.
Q: I never used Lakewood Hospital. How does this affect me?
A: The hospital was a major economic engine for our city. It provided over 1,000 good jobs and generated $280 million in annual economic impact. Its loss will affect our city budget, leading to potential tax increases and/or reduced services.
Q: Why would any operator want to be in Lakewood? The hospital was losing money.
A: The hospital was profitable as late as 2014, three weeks before Mayor Summers declared it to be closing. Cleveland Clinic steered patients to other facilities in 2015, manufacturing financial losses. Lakewood is a desirable healthcare market.
Q: Didn’t the city hire a consultant to look for partners to run the hospital?
A: Multiple potential partners have surfaced, despite never being invited by the City. Officials improperly steered the bidding process, blocking viable operators from the process. Here is the Metro proposal that would have saved the hospital and which city officials buried until attorneys for the people unearthed it in legal proceedings.
Q: Why are people complaining? Fairview Hospital is only three miles away.
A: Fairview Hospital’s emergency room is already experiencing major overcrowding. They have also faced a shortage of inpatient beds in the few months since our hospital closed. These conditions will become even more serious in the face of a health crisis such as flu epidemic.
Q: How could Fairview’s emergency room be overcrowded? We still have an ER in Lakewood.
A: Our emergency room cannot handle serious (yet common) emergencies like bone fractures, heart attack, stroke, appendicitis, and more. The majority of these cases are being sent to Fairview, wasting critical time in transport and creating overcrowding at Fairview. Densely populated Lakewood is a viable market for a hospital.
Q: If voters, in November, reject the ordinance that closed the hospital, what then?
A: Better alternatives are ready and waiting for Lakewood; the next step is to go forward with:
In the following statement Marguerite Harkness, CPA and Committee Chairperson reaffirmed that Lakewood Hospital could easily be a profitable business if operated properly.
“The Clinic had increased administrative fees by 718% from 2002 to 2014 without providing any explanation. Last year, Lakewood Hospital handed over more than 24 million dollars in fees that the Clinic refused to account for. Any health care provider would have loved the deal the Clinic had, charging whatever it pleased without accountability.
“Free of these excessive fees, we confidently estimate hospital earnings of 18 to 20 million dollars annually before depreciation. That could add up to a 14% return on net patient revenue. The conclusion is clear. The hospital could easily operate at a profit. Otherwise why would three health care operators be so interested in running Lakewood Hospital? There was no open bidding. Serious suitors were coldly rejected. It only makes business sense to have considered these proposals. Instead, the city turned the hospital over to the Clinic for pennies on the dollar. You don’t have to be Warren Buffett to figure out that this is a horrible deal.”
– Marguerite Harkness, Chairperson, Save Lakewood Hospital Committee
A referendum vote to repeal the deal that closed Lakewood Hospital will appear on the November 8, 2016 ballot.
For Immediate Release —
Lakewood is facing a health care crisis as the shortcomings of the city’s freestanding ER have come to light. Tonight, Lakewood citizens will again ask that City Council send a direct mail notice to every resident, clearly stating that in the event of a heart attack, a stroke or other serious illness, they should go directly to a full service hospital rather than Lakewood’s freestanding ER. It could literally mean the difference between life and death.
The ER’s shortcomings exist as a consequence of closing the attached, full service hospital that once served this community of 52,000, and is one of the factors that led to the passing of a Lakewood resident who arrived at the ER suffering from a heart attack.
In this video, Dr. Terry Kilroy, a pulmonary critical care specialist in Lakewood, clearly states that in the event of a heart attack or stroke “… any time left on the table leads to increased organ dysfunction and mortality… a freestanding emergency room assures wasted time.” The conclusion is simple. In the serious event of a heart attack or stroke, a stop at Lakewood’s freestanding ER could be a critical mistake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJvwGTnfUaA
Dr. Kilroy’s position is supported by The Cleveland Clinic’s website* which states: “ Some situations are clearly an emergency: A heart attack, fall off a ladder, serious kitchen burn or bone break. Call 9-1-1 and get your loved one to the nearest hospital.”
Pressure is building on council members to warn residents of the shortcomings of the city’s freestanding ER. The major stumbling block appears to be that in announcing the closure of Lakewood Hospital, city and Clinic officials oversold the capability of the freestanding ER, leaving citizens with the impression that their lives were as safe and secure as when the full service hospital was open.
Add to this the revelations of bid rigging that eschewed an opportunity for MetroHealth to operate a full service hospital (http://savelakewoodhospital.org/wp-content/uploads/metrohealth-proposal.pdf), and embattled city officials are sure to face more impassioned addresses like this one from the last council meeting: https://youtu.be/DffnPYeOmxA?t=3m31s Further reference for Lakewood’s ER shortcomings can be found on our website at http://savelakewoodhospital.org/emergency-care-with-some-exceptions/
Lakewood’s City Council meeting begins tonight at 7:30 at Lakewood City Hall.
* Note: In May 2016, the Cleveland Clinic quietly rewrote the statement, which it had posted only one year earlier, and substituted “emergency department” for “hospital.” Absent explanation, this appears to be just another attempt at spin. The original, uncensored version is preserved at the Internet Archive, and in the screen capture below.
Following recent questions about the limits of Lakewood’s freestanding emergency department in the Lakewood Observer and at a recent city council meeting, the Cleveland Clinic has rushed to attempt community reassurance.
Advocates for Lakewood Hospital have drawn attention to a statement at the Clinic’s own web site*, posted barely a year ago, advising that “Some situations are clearly an emergency: A heart attack, fall off a ladder, serious kitchen burn or bone break. You know to call 9-1-1 and to get your loved one to the nearest hospital,” i.e. an actual hospital and not a freestanding emergency department.
Apparently, both Lakewood City Council and the Clinic are reluctant to directly confront the limitations of care without a hospital. In a full-page ad on page 3 of the April 13 Observer, the Clinic touts “full-service emergency care” in Lakewood, “always close to home.”
Unfortunately, this and the rest of the Clinic’s advertising about services in Lakewood is mostly an exercise in misrepresentation. Given that there is no fixed definition of “emergency department,” the claim of “full-service” emergency care is largely meaningless.
The deal to break up Lakewood’s publicly owned hospital and privatize most of the pieces fails our community, in multiple ways.
But at the most basic level, the deal also fails a test of simple arithmetic: even from a short-term, cold hard cash perspective, Lakewood comes up short by at least $80 million.
The combined fair market value of all our hospital property, rights and associated assets is at least $120 million.
Under the terms of the Cleveland Clinic’s lease on Lakewood Hospital, all of this would revert to Lakewood upon termination of the lease. In comparison, a generous assessment of the deal’s compensation to Lakewood adds up to only $40 million.
You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to complete the math:
$80 million in public assets transferred into private hands without fair compensation
The latest issue of The Lakewood Observer includes a number of informative articles about Lakewood Hospital.
“Emergency Room? …It’s Complicated” presents an in-depth, objective examination of what’s left in Lakewood with our hospital currently closed, and whether the remaining emergency services can deliver on the reassurances of city officials.
In “Empty Chair Versus a New Shiny Building,” Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young draws on both his own personal experience and the professional judgment of Dr. Terry Kilroy, to argue that the absence of hospital services will cost real people the most priceless thing any of us possesses.
Mr. Brian Essi continues to report on slowly released public documents related to the campaign against Lakewood Hospital. E-mails from city officials corroborate the recently published testimony of Mayor Mike Summers that “charity funds were expended from the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA) to influence the election last November.” Essi’s update follows another report published earlier this month.
Elsewhere in the news, meanwhile, this slide show at cleveland.com comes surprisingly close to recognizing that there is a pattern to the Cleveland Clinic’s activity—one not favorable to older, less affluent communities. (Including Cleveland.)
Help support Save Lakewood Hospital at Fresco Mexican Grill and Salsa Bar in Rocky River on Wednesday, March 30.
Fresco will donate 20% of all food and beverage purchases, whether you dine in or carry out, if you mention Save Lakewood Hospital. The offer applies to gift cards, also!
The fundraiser lasts all day on March 30, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fresco is located at 19310 Detroit Road in Rocky River (in Beachcliff Market Square, on the north side of Detroit); their number is 216-795-5050.
Please share the word about this event among friends, neighbors and social media! (Download a flier here.)
Cleveland Clinic plans to remove hospital services have been blasted, as an intentional prelude to closing a hospital entirely, by a member of city council—in Cleveland.
As reported at cleveland.com, Ward 8 Councilman Michael Polensek condemned a Clinic plan to remove a rehabilitation unit from Euclid Hospital:
“They move the rehab unit out and you might as well kiss that place goodbye,” Polensek said Wednesday. “We can’t let them do to Euclid what they did to Lakewood and East Cleveland. What’s happening here is outrageous, and they wonder why the average citizen is so angry with the corporate elite.”
…Polensek said the move is taken from a Cleveland Clinic playbook to remove services from facilities that it wants to close or reduce in size. He wrote a letter to Pamela Holmes, a senior government relations executive with the Clinic, protesting the move.
“The Clinic moves out services and health care related programs and then indicates sometime later to the community that the institution is losing money and/or patients or is in poor condition,” Polensek wrote in the letter, adding: “Then it is only a matter of time before the hospital closes and they serve us up some reduced health care facility with some deceased former officials name on it, which is nowhere near the services once being offered by a full service hospital.”
Lakewood’s emergency personnel have already testified to the extra challenges that will result if Lakewood Hospital is lost. For neighbors in Cleveland who have also depended on Lakewood Hospital, however, the value of having a genuine hospital close by is even greater.
A Fox 8 report has advised Clevelanders that:
Next time you see a Cleveland ambulance rushing to a call, notice the crew will likely not be breaking the speed limit, even if that’s 25 mph. The Fox 8 I-Team has obtained a city ambulance policy that says, “The driver shall never exceed the posted speed limit.” The I-Team investigated after hearing a Cleveland EMS crew got in trouble with bosses for answering a call and speeding. Internal documents show that crew went 47 mph in a 35 mph zone.
Addressing Lakewood City Council Monday evening, attorney Gerald Phillips lent his support to repealing ordinance 49-15, which closed Lakewood Hospital, and “starting all over.” Mr. Phillips roundly criticized the ordinance, which will go before Lakewood voters in November.
Mr. Phillips’ statement is republished below, with permission:
The following are examples of malfeasance, misfeasance and non-feasance of the City Council and the Mayor of Lakewood:
I. The complete failure to provide for the waiver of facility fees for Lakewood residents who are unable to pay for them;
II. The complete failure to provide for a guarantee amount of charity care for Lakewood residents; in the past as much as $7 million was provided through Lakewood Hospital; none is guaranteed by the Master Agreement;
III. The complete failure to enforce the breach of the lease agreement by the Lakewood Hospital Association and the breach of the Definitive Agreement by the Cleveland Clinic; no consideration at all was received in light of their material breaches as part of their fraudulent plan to close Lakewood Hospital;
For Immediate Release —
Wednesday, February 24th was a very busy day for the Save Lakewood Hospital Committee and Citizens for a Strong Lakewood members, who protested at two high profile speaking events.
At 6 AM, committee members protested in front of the Intercontinental Hotel next to the Clinic as invitees filed past on their way to Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove’s “State of The Clinic” address. Temperatures were in the low 40’s as a soaking rain fell, but that didn’t dampen committee member spirits. Commuters honked their horns and gave members thumbs-up as rush hour traffic swelled on Carnegie Avenue. Local TV covered the protest and reported on morning broadcasts. Crain’s Cleveland Business’s health reporter, who was one of the invitees, tweeted a photo of the protest and a link from our YouTube Channel (https://youtu.be/Yzf4EDK25Xs).
Twelve hours later, the committee re-enacted the scene at Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers’s State of the City address at the Lakewood Masonic Temple. Just as was the case earlier that day, the falling rain soaked committee members as they picketed on Detroit Avenue in front of the Temple. This time the honking horns and cheers of approval were even more intense than they had been before. The sound of horns and cheers filled the main hall of the Temple as council members shuffled in for the address.
Once the address commenced, committee members joined the small group of Mayor Summers’s supporters in the Temple’s main hall. Empty as the hall was, it provided a chance to dry off after what had been a very successful day. The committee’s visibility has made it clear to everyone that the campaign for health care justice in our community is far from over. The committee continues its commitment to save lives, save jobs, save Lakewood and to save Lakewood Hospital. The issue that will determine the future of our hospital will be on the ballot some time in 2016.Read More
By Marguerite Harkness
‘Twas the rainiest morning,
And out on the Street,
Stood legions of SLH folks,
Who wouldn’t be beat.
“Save Lakewood Hospital”,
They shouted out loud –
Save Lives, Save Jobs, and
Keep Lakewood proud!
The rain was relentless,
The puddles were deep,
The drivers were happy
To tell us “Beep-Beep”!
The Clinic cops were decent,
This we must say,
As we cleared the crosswalks,
And promised to obey.
Back home before breakfast,
Our coats soaking wet,
Our gloves and our pants
And our shoes were a mess!
Toby is bragging,
We heard with alarm,
He says Clinic’s flush,
Means Lakewood no harm.
But Clinic monopoly
In Lakewood’s own town
Means Lakewood’s economy
Is heading WAY DOWN!
A thousand of jobs,
And a ton of dough,
No inpatient beds,
And NOWHERE TO GO!
For Immediate Release —
Wednesday, February 24th will be a busy day for the Save Lakewood Hospital Committee as members will be protesting at two high-profile speaking events.
At 6 AM committee members will carry on a protest in front of the Intercontinental Hotel at 9801 Carnegie Avenue where the “State of The Clinic” address will be given by Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove.
Twelve hours later at 6 PM, committee members will assemble for the “State of the City” address, delivered by Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers. The evening address will be delivered at the Lakewood Masonic Temple, 15300 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood.
The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee wish it could be said that The Cleveland Clinic is a good steward of public health in Northeast Ohio, but court documents have proven otherwise. The Clinic deliberately mismanaged Lakewood Hospital to make it appear to be unprofitable. Their egregious and morally corrupt actions contributed directly to the closing of our publicly owned hospital, putting lives at risk, and have deprived us of our largest employer. We are rallying to demand restitution. It is time The Clinic put lives before their Wall Street style corporate greed.
In December of 2015, city officials taking the advice of Clinic personnel and surrogates, passed legislation that gave Lakewood’s publicly owned community hospital to the Cleveland Clinic, literally at pennies on the dollar. There was no open bidding process. City officials ignored three offers from qualified health care operators.
Our hospital’s future remains in limbo until the time when city officials, required by law, place the hospital issue on the ballot in 2016.
The most recent issue of the Lakewood Observer, released Tuesday, described the Feb. 11 meeting of city council as follows:
Voters will have their say on whether or not Lakewood Hospital should be closed.
But city officials will keep citizens, and the Board of Elections, waiting for now.
These were the only firm conclusions reached at a special meeting of City Council on Thursday, February 11, which stretched more than three hours. Council President Sam O’Leary, Ward 2, called the meeting eight days after the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections reported adequate valid signatures on a petition to repeal authorization to close Lakewood Hospital. Faced with an eventual obligation to perform the repeal themselves, or else allow the referendum, council adjourned without doing either.
A second meeting held Tuesday evening changed little of this. According to cleveland.com, City Council “likely” will deal with the petition on March 7—a further three weeks’ delay. Presumably at that time, council will move on to the issue of when a referendum will take place; how long it will take members to conclude that decision-making process is anyone’s guess.
The Observer’s suggestion, that city officials remain wary of direct and transparent accountability to voters, appears valid.
For Immediate Release —
Last night, after a series of unaccounted for delays, Lakewood City Council decided to postpone a March vote to save Lakewood Hospital.
The decision was made at a special council session that was called to discuss placing the issue on the March ballot.
The issue will either be placed in a special election in August, at a cost to taxpayers of between 100,000 and 150,000 dollars, or placed on the November ballot.
The popular conjecture is that council is playing the obstructionist card and purposely delayed the vote, hoping that citizens would forget about it and move on. But the more citizens come to grips with the fact the hospital is closed, the more frustrated they become with their elected officials.
It was with council’s seven votes that the hospital was closed. Pit those seven votes against the 2,686 certified signatures for the referendum to repeal the ordinance, and it is easy to understand that a large and potent movement has begun.
As an ongoing taxpayer lawsuit against city officials and the Cleveland Clinic continues, The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee will be setting up forums to educate the public. These forums will carry on until the time that the issue is voted on, be it August or November.
In the meantime, the future of the hospital remains in limbo, and our city remains divided as council missed a golden opportunity to end our city’s strife sooner than later by placing the issue on the March ballot.Read More
For Immediate Release —
Lakewood City Council has at last fulfilled our committee’s request for a special meeting to consider its response to the citizen’s petition to repeal Ordinance 49-15 that closed Lakewood Hospital.
There is only one way that council can stop the citizen’s referendum from appearing on the 2016 ballot. That is to repeal Ordinance 49-15 by their own accord.
“Anticipation is high as citizens wonder what council will do,” Committee Petition Coordinator Pam Wetula stated. “Will they repeal the deal tonight or will they take immediate action to place the deal on the March ballot while there still might be time to do so? Or will council procrastinate and place it on the ballot later this year? The meeting tonight is a high tide moment in the controversy surrounding the hospital issue. The pressure is all on council’s shoulders. We pray for a just conclusion.”
The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee will hold a rally in front of Lakewood City Hall tonight at 6 PM. The Council meeting will commence tonight at 6:30 PM.
For questions and comments, our contact information is below.
Save Lives, Save Jobs, Save Lakewood, Save Lakewood Hospital.
Save Lakewood Hospital Committee
For Immediate Release —
One week ago, Lakewood City Council was informed by The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee that a petition to put the hospital issue on the ballot in 2016 would soon be placed in their hands.
With seven days to ponder the issue, council has yet to make a decision.
To make the March ballot, council must call a special session and vote to put it on that ballot. Council’s continued silence will mean the issue is headed to the November ballot, or else a special election which would cost Lakewood taxpayers between $100,000 and $150,000. The Board of Elections can only wait for so long.
This is a big decision and the sooner made, the better for everyone involved. Otherwise, the future of the hospital remains in limbo.
We respectfully advocate that Lakewood City Council assemble in special session today or tomorrow and allow voters to freely choose, in March, what the future of their health care will be.
For Immediate Release —
The Board of Elections has delivered the certified signatures needed to place a referendum for the future of the Lakewood Hospital on the ballot. By law, the referendum is guaranteed to be up for a vote in this calendar year. It is in the hands of city council to decide when.
“We advocate that the referendum be placed on the March ballot,” said Pam Wetula, petition committee coordinator. “But if council continues to procrastinate and does not meet next week’s deadline set by the Board of Elections, then it will be up for a vote later this year. Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to delay big decisions like this. We all hope council makes a decision soon.”
To make the deadline, council must call a special session to vote to place the referendum on the March ballot. If they do not make that deadline then the issue will be placed in a costly special election, possibly occurring as late as August, or wind up on the November ballot.
The closure of the Lakewood Hospital is not a done deal. The very existence of the certified referendum petition triggers a vote that determines the future of the hospital. The sooner the issue is placed on the ballot, the sooner the citizens of Lakewood can freely choose the future of their healthcare.
“The deadline looms,” Wetula added. “Procrastination only perpetuates disunity, dysfunction and delays a chance to heal this community’s wounds.”
This Thursday, Feb. 11, the Save Lakewood Hospital calendar includes two very important events: a fundraiser, and an evening rally at city hall.
First, a fundraiser at Angelo’s Pizza from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Angelo’s will donate 20% of any food or soft drink purchase! Just mention Save Lakewood Hospital with your order, and help fund efforts to overturn the planned closure of our hospital. Angelo’s is located at 13715 Madison Ave.
Second, Lakewood City Council has scheduled a special meeting for to address the citizen petition to overturn the hospital closing. The Board of Elections has confirmed that petitioners collected more than enough valid signatures to require a referendum in 2016. Council must approve the petition, themselves, or else schedule the referendum—but members have remained slow to act.
We invite everyone who supports keeping Lakewood’s hospital open to attend a rally at 6 p.m., followed by Thursday’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. Help us call on City Council to end the delays. Join us at City Hall, 12650 Detroit Ave.
For Immediate Release —
The process to place a referendum to repeal the ordinance to close Lakewood Hospital on the March ballot is very much alive and continues tonight (February 1st), as The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee prepares to address Lakewood City Council.
The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee will ask council to schedule a special meeting to approve the referendum’s language, to meet a February 9th deadline so it can make the March ballot.
“People on both sides of this issue are anxious to get this vote on the ballot as soon as possible,” petition coordinator Pam Wetula stated. “Our committee members have worked very hard to gather the necessary signatures and The Board of Elections is working equally hard to move the process along as quickly as possible. We hope that City Council matches these efforts and does their part to keep this process on track for a spot on the March ballot.”
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Board of Election officials have indicated that they will complete the current phase of the process and have their certification to Lakewood city officials to execute the next phase of the process by Thursday, February 4.
The city council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 PM.
Citizens’ petitions for a referendum on the planned closure of Lakewood Hospital have been delivered to the Board of Elections. Some inside (and outside) City Hall continue to oppose the idea of a citizen vote on this issue, meanwhile; one petitioner has offered a thoughtful explanation via The Lakewood Observer:
Throughout 2015 Lakewood officials encouraged us to have faith in their handling of Lakewood Hospital. They did so in general terms, often, insisting e.g. on their “due diligence” before finally endorsing a proposal to board up the city’s hospital. But they also made some very specific promises about their obligations as public servants.
In a May 22 letter to MetroHealth, Councilman Ryan Nowlin wrote that “We are… evaluating the nonbinding proposal advanced by the Lakewood Hospital Association and the Cleveland Clinic, and we must do so with respect to any other proposals as well.” Council, wrote Nowlin, was “perfectly free to consider any proposals regarding the future of healthcare in Lakewood, and indeed we are obligated to do so as community stewards if such a proposal is presented.” [Emphases added]
Around the same time, Mayor Summers wrote that “I am duty-bound as mayor to explore every option available” to keep our community-owned hospital operating.
Based on these statements (and a hospital still open after months of warnings), Lakewood went into an election assured that if any possibility existed to keep the city’s hospital, then incumbent leaders would embrace it.
Read the rest at The Observer.
For Immediate Release—
It has come to our attention that cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer have posted a headline that reads “Lakewood Hospital referendum too late for March ballot.” This is simply not the case. By submitting our petition with its signatures 9 days ahead of the deadline established in the Lakewood City Charter, the process to place the issue on the March ballot is in motion early. There is still time to for the issue to be placed on the ballot.
We are confident that the competent and efficient staff at The Board of Elections will do everything in their power to see that it does make the March Ballot.
Joined by members of Save Lakewood Hospital and the local media, a citizens’ committee turned in petitions Thursday morning to allow a March referendum on the planned closure of the city’s hospital.
Petitioners collected more than 3,400 signatures in just over three weeks, frequently in the face of snow and bitter cold. Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young, who addressed media ahead of time, observed that this demonstrates the breadth of concern over a rushed, once-sided deal and the determination of everyday Lakewoodites to stand up for the community.
For Immediate Release —
Tomorrow, Thursday, January 21 promptly at 10 AM, The Save Lakewood Hospital Committee will deliver to Lakewood City Hall the needed signatures to place a referendum on the March ballot to repeal City Ordinance 49-15. Ordinance 49-15 transferred ownership of Lakewood Hospital from the city’s citizens to The Cleveland Clinic literally at pennies on the dollar.
Just prior to delivering the petitions and its signatures to our city’s Clerk of Council, we will hold a press conference outside of City Hall. An address will be made by our committee’s spokesperson and we will be happy to take questions from the press and citizens.
The controversial ordinance was passed by city officials even after court proceedings exposed documents proving that Lakewood Hospital was deliberately mismanaged to create a false narrative of obsolescence and non-profitability. Additionally, city officials turned their backs on three proposals by qualified health care providers, who had viable plans to operate the hospital at a profit and for the benefit of our citizens and surrounding communities. There was no open bidding process.
We are advocating an open bidding process for our city’s hospital that will include multiple health care operators. We intend to see Ordinance 49-15 repealed so that our community can lay claim to the best health care that the open marketplace offers. Repealing this deal will mark a new beginning to a bright and vibrant local economy while, more importantly, saving lives that would otherwise be at risk if our hospital closes.
We look forward to seeing you at Lakewood City Hall tomorrow at 10 AM.
Lakewood citizens are gathering signatures for a fair, direct referendum to approve or reject the planned closure of Lakewood Hospital. Despite the arrival of winter at last, ordinary people continue working to give all of us this chance to be heard.
Wednesday, January 20: take advantage of two open petition-signings. Petitioners will be at Lakewood Park, and Madison Park, from 5 to 7 p.m.
If you are collecting signatures, please contact Pam Wetula soon to turn in the lists you have so far: 440.341.5626.
Everyone can help in preventing a huge loss for the future of Lakewood:
Signature collection will continue into the second half of January—watch for updates—but the sooner that petitions are signed and turned in the better!
For Immediate Release –
Today as the announcement was made that Lakewood Hospital will cease providing inpatient care, we continue to gather signatures for a referendum on the March ballot to save the hospital. There was no open bidding for the hospital deal even though 3 viable health care operators expressed earnest interest in maintaining and improving Lakewood Hospital. Our city taxes will go up and health care for Lakewood and surrounding communities will be compromised by this morally corrupt move to close Lakewood Hospital. We continue our campaign.
City council has voted to liquidate Lakewood’s community hospital at the behest of Cleveland Clinic—but council does not have the final say. Lakewood citizens are gathering signatures for a fair, direct referendum to approve or reject council’s vote. Please support this opportunity for an honest, firm decision on the future of our city:
Signature collection will continue through the first half of January—watch for updates—but like all New Year projects getting started sooner rather than later is best!
Every deal involves winners and losers. That approved by Lakewood city council earlier this month, if allowed to proceed, will be no exception:
Winners in the Master Agreement
Losers in the Agreement
This information is also available as a PDF you can download and print.
On Monday evening, Lakewood city council rubber-stamped a secretly negotiated 11th-hour plan to surrender Lakewood Hospital to Cleveland Clinic. The Clinic intends, with this authority, to complete its illicit decanting of what has always been a community-owned hospital, and to lock up health care in Lakewood for Clinic-owned hospitals elsewhere. Facing multiple lawsuits and possible investigations of their maladministration, the Clinic and its apologists apparently hope to thwart justice with a fait accompli.
The people of Lakewood do not have to let this happen. Council has embraced a false narrative of the Clinic or nothing, blatantly ignoring the active overtures of a fully qualified alternative. Lakewood owes it to future generations, as well as the most vulnerable populations now and tomorrow, to employ every legal means to block the handover of our hospital and negotiate an alternative to the Cleveland Clinic’s dishonesty and theft.
Please don’t begin the coming year by giving up on your community. If council has lost the will to fight for Lakewood’s interests, honest working citizens have not.
— Save Lakewood Hospit (@SAVLKWDHOSPITAL) December 22, 2015
The following review of Lakewood Hospital facts is also available as a PDF you can download and print out.
1) Lakewood Hospital is Owned by the Citizens Of Lakewood. The land and buildings, every MRI, ultrasound, operating table, every piece of lab equipment—right down to each light bulb—are all owned by Lakewood residents.
2) The Clinic Leases the Hospital. There are 10 more years left on the lease.
3) A $400 Million Lawsuit Has Unearthed Secret Documents and testimonies revealing that the Clinic planned and implemented the destruction of Lakewood Hospital with empty promises to make the hospital sustainable for years to come. Dennis Kucinich explains in this video.
4) The Hospital Was Profitable until this year, even after the Clinic removed nearly two dozen services and departments beginning in 2007, culminating this past January with the closing of the cardiac catheterization lab. The Clinic said the state health department made them close this most profitable unit, which was not true. The City’s three representatives on the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA) board did nothing. City Council stood by tacitly as the hospital was steadily emptied of valuable resources.
The City of Lakewood web site now includes a FAQ about the proposed new “Master Agreement” with Cleveland Clinic. Naturally—given the disastrous proposal it defends—it is another muddle of evasions and internal contradictions.
The highlight, as such, was posted Friday at the Observation Deck forum:
Q: “What makes you trust the Clinic?”
A: “…Trust doesn’t enter in this. It’s about the numbers and the assurances in the legally binding agreement…”
Q: “Why can’t you detail all the services that will be available at the new health center?”
A: “The city doesn’t want to be in the business of micromanaging any health care providers’ services…”
So, it isn’t about trust, it’s about the “assurances in the legally binding agreement”. But there aren’t any assurances because we don’t “want to be in the business of micromanaging”.
The assertion that Lakewood will be guaranteed anything by a “legally binding agreement” with Cleveland Clinic is daft. Cleveland Clinic cheats. By contrast, Mayor Summers’s administration has already refused to support a lawsuit against the Clinic’s sabotage of the current agreement, and Summers himself said this fall that “I don’t believe in suing and auditing your way to success.”
Michael J. Skindell today announced that he has filed action in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas (MICHAEL J. SKINDELL v. MARY LOUISE MADIGAN, ET AL., Civil Case Number CV-15-855961) alleging that Lakewood City Council violated Ohio’s Open Meeting Act when the council held multiple closed meetings to deliberate and draft an agreement to close Lakewood Hospital. Skindell is currently the State Senator representing Lakewood in the Ohio Legislature.
The Open Meetings Act requires that all public bodies take official action and conduct all deliberations only in open meetings where the public can attend and observe. R.C. § 121.22(A). The law allows a public body to hold an “executive session”, i.e., closed meeting, on certain matters including purchase of property or sale of property in some competitive bidding situations. R.C. § 121.22(G) and (J). Official action by a public body which violates the provision of the Open Meeting Act is invalid. R.C. § 121.22(H).
In the action alleging that city council violated the law, Michael Skindell cites the fact that reasons supplied for the executive sessions — [g]eneral conversation about the Letter of Intent submitted to Council by the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA), the Lakewood Hospital Foundation (LHF), and Cleveland Clinic (referred 1/20/15), including the potential purchase of property; the sale of real or personal property by competitive bid if disclosure of the information would result in a competitive advantage to the person whose personal, private interest is adverse to the general public interest; and/or pending litigation — were not proper topics for closed meetings. In addition, matters discussed were beyond the reasons in the notice. Skindell points out that although there were reasons noticed for the closed session such as purchase of property by the city, and sale of property by competitive bid, there was no purchase of property or sale of property by competitive bidding as part of the agreement.
Michael Skindell stated: “During my eighteen years in public office I have always advocated for transparency and accountability in government. This action against Lakewood City Council is to correct, in what I perceive, an abuse of the public trust. Citizens have a right to know what their government is up to and how they reached their decisions. It is my belief that Lakewood City Council violated the law in reaching their agreement involving the closing of Lakewood Hospital. I have a responsibility to the people to ensure that government is open and accountable to the public.”
Judge Stuart Friendman has scheduled a hearing for Monday, December 21, 2015, to consider a Skindell’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
The public’s message to city council is clear. Nearly 80% of the public comments that stretched Monday evening’s meeting for three and one-half hours were opposed to the new “Master Agreement” to close Lakewood Hospital and hand city assets over to Cleveland Clinic.
Council members, by contrast, tied themselves into rhetorical knots trying to defend the indefensible.
The most revealing example may be Councilman Tom Bullock’s assertion that “Some times your choices are between two bad… I think that’s what we’re in here.” This summarized a theme repeated throughout the evening, that council is trying to deal with “reality” and that an imperfect deal with Cleveland Clinic is better than an alternative of a bankrupt hospital. As one public speaker after another pointed out, however, the two bad choices proposed by Mr. Bullock are a false reality created by Council; city officials have not only failed to make a sincere pursuit of alternatives, but have recently refused even to engage with one alternative that has actively sought them out.
Councilman David Anderson claimed that “we cannot compel LHA to reopen the process” to contact alternative hospital systems, and Councilman Shawn Juris insisted that city officials “don’t have a direct obligation, or a way to compel a health care provider to provide services.” Yet this is blatantly contradicted by council’s own repeated statements.
In May, Council vice president Ryan Nowlin wrote—in a letter actively soliciting information from Metrohealth—that “City council is perfectly free to consider any proposals regarding the future of healthcare in Lakewood, and indeed we are obligated to do so as community stewards if such a proposal is presented.” During Monday’s meeting, Councilman Bullock stated that “If the Tennessee group [Surgical Development Partners] makes a concrete proposal” he would be interested in talking to them; meanwhile the repeated references by every member of council to “negotiations” with Cleveland Clinic confirm that council not only has more leverage than Mr. Anderson proposed, but has also applied a double-standard in exempting Cleveland Clinic from the demands it would apply to Surgical Development Partners.
On Monday evening, Save Lakewood Hospital’s chair Marguerite Harkness and vice-chair Tom Monahan presented a review of the proposed “Master Agreement” to close Lakewood Hospital. If approved, this would be a bad deal for Lakewood in many ways:
The agreement would cancel the 11 years remaining on Cleveland Clinic’s lease of the hospital and absolve the Clinic of all its associated responsibilities, costing Lakewood millions.
The emergency department would be substantially smaller than Lakewood Hospital’s, and require several thousand people per year to find emergency care elsewhere. Emergency services will undoubtedly do their best to help people reach that care—but constantly transporting people to hospitals outside Lakewood will inevitably stretch response times. (No wonder the real, front-line crews are concerned.)
The agreement supposedly will arrange for a Cleveland Clinic mobile stroke unit “to be allowed to be used in Lakewood.” This is an existing Clinic unit—one, only—which already exists and is based at Lutheran Hospital where it will remain. Lakewood gains essentially nothing here.
All of the contents of Lakewood Hospital—which still belongs to the people of Lakewood and always has—are to be handed over to Cleveland Clinic without compensation or even an appraisal.
Cleveland Clinic will acquire Lakewood Hospital’s property at 850 Columbia Road for approximately $8 million; County property records value the building at more than $13 million and Surgical Development Partners recently presented Lakewood with an initial offer of $9 million.
The relatively small payment to Lakewood, by Cleveland Clinic, is to be made in installments over more than a decade. The Clinic’s annual revenues are nearly $10 billion, next to which the total of these payments is microscopic, which raises questions about why the Clinic wants to delay them and whether it is any more likely to fulfill the terms of a new agreement than those of the current one.
The city promises to restrict the “prime land” cited as an exciting benefit of closing the hospital, in ways that will effectively block any other health care firm from providing services there.
The Family Health Center with which Cleveland Clinic proposes to replace Lakewood Hospital is scheduled to open in the middle of 2018, but the agreement explicitly includes provision for that date to slide into mid-2019. This says much about the priority that Cleveland Clinic will attach to health care in Lakewood.
Lakewood City Council has scheduled a special meeting for December 14—at a special, early time—for a second reading of its proposed agreement to close Lakewood Hospital.
At 5:00 p.m., Save Lakewood Hospital will explain the misguided details of the proposed Agreement with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Please join us on Monday at City Hall. (Unlike city officials’ closed-door press conference, all will be welcome at our presentation.) Stick around afterward and at 6 p.m. confront council with the real people whom they are trying to ignore.
Other important dates in the next week:
Sunday, Dec. 13 at 4:00 p.m., Save Lakewood Hospital has a meeting in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Main Branch of Lakewood Library. Please try to attend.
Thursday, Dec. 17th. Angelo’s Pizza at 13715 Madison is an all-time favorite haunt of Lakewoodites, and SLH is having a fundraiser there from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Angelo’s will donate 20% of all food and non-alcoholic drinks – provided you mention the Save Lakewood Hospital fundraiser. Good on: Dine-in, Carry-out, Delivery, Gift Cards…. just be sure to mention the Save Lakewood Hospital fundraiser.
Save Lakewood Hospital’s PJ Bennett provides a summary of recent news and interpretive context:
Three times now, the Mayor and LHA have turned down offers from entities interested in keeping Lakewood Hospital a hospital.
Pretty crazy, huh? They are bound and determined to turn the hospital into rubble for a medical office bldg., an under-glorified ‘ER’ and some retail. Wow.
Like I and many others have said, it’s all about the money.
Who in their right mind would refuse more money than what is being offered by Cleveland Clinic?
Anyway, here’s a link to a recent post on cleveland.com.
Mayors in other cities are fighting to keep hospitals in their cities, while the Mayor of Lakewood is giving ours away.
Judge John O’Donnell has again postponed any rulings on the lawsuit brought against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation by Lakewood activists. He has ruled that depositions must go forward.
A selection of comments from Judge O’Donnell, as well as plaintiffs’ and defendants’ representatives, appear in a story at cleveland.com.
After weeks of rumors, on Monday evening Lakewood city officials unveiled another plan to close Lakewood Hospital, at an unannounced press conference just hours before a city council meeting. Council plans to make a second reading of the plan on December 14, at an additional meeting that was also a last-minute announcement (and, as of Tuesday morning, is still unlisted on the city’s online calendar). The regular meeting on December 21 is currently proposed for a third reading and vote.
The outline released on Monday is, as observed by WKYC, not materially different from the “Letter of Intent” produced by Cleveland Clinic nearly a year ago. (Click here for a PDF of the “master agreement” text.)
Despite having withheld notice of this proposal as long as possible, council was joined by a substantial number of citizens Monday evening. At least a dozen people spoke to council about the proposal, all but one of whom were critical of Cleveland Clinic, the plan, and the questionable haste in a two-week lead-up to a vote four days before Christmas with two lame-duck council members.
Many people also urged council to live up to the responsibilities professed by one of its own members in May, and to invite Surgical Development Partners to a fair hearing of its interest in Lakewood Hospital properties. No official addressed these pleas at Monday’s meeting, however in a statement to the press, Law Director Kevin Butler insisted that the mysterious losses which have been reported at Lakewood Hospital for well over a year are now, suddenly, so urgent that Lakewood cannot spare any time to hear from SDP.
Meanwhile, with a lawsuit in progress, and two requests for independent investigations which may become even more compelling as a result of these proceedings, the viability of officials’ intention to “move forward” will remain in doubt.
Everyone concerned about Lakewood Hospital—and about the basic values of honest, inclusive, responsible government—is encouraged to contact members of council.
Scene‘s Eric Sandy has published a letter, from Surgical Development Partners of Tennessee, confirming its interest as a potential partner for Lakewood Hospital. From the November 30 letter to Lakewood Hospital Association and members of Lakewood’s government:
…Surgical Development Partners desires to make it clear and avoid any confusion by stating again that it remains extremely interested in purchasing the 850 Columbia Road property [owned by Lakewood Hospital] at a competitive fair market value and also in developing the Lakewood Hospital campus to continue medical and emergency services to the community.
The letter formally requests an opportunity to address the upcoming City Council meeting, Monday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
In a story at cleveland.com, Save Lakewood Hospital vice chair Tom Monahan said “It shows there are entities out there willing to come in. To slam the door on Lakewood residents is unconscionable.”
Surgical Development Partners, according to its web site, “has the industry specific experience and knowledge to tackle the complexities of opening and managing physician owned acute care hospitals in difficult political environments [emphasis added].” Its inclusion of Ohio’s attorney general on its correspondence with LHA suggests that it has, indeed, learned valuable precautions from this highly relevant experience.
Save Lakewood Hospital remains active and determined as ever to defend our city’s financial and health care future! We are currently planning our next campaign to promote awareness of what’s at stake, and what we can do about it.
Making this as effective as possible, however, will require printing, mailing, etc. Therefore we invite all friends of supporters of our hospital to take part in our two December fundraisers:
Tuesday, December 8: Jammy Buggar’s. Stop in any time all day long (11:30 a.m. to midnight) and mention Save Lakewood Hospital, and JB’s will donate 15% of your order as part of “Pay It Forward Tuesday.” (15625 Detroit Ave.)
Thursday, December 17: Angelo’s Pizza will donate 20% of any food or soft drink purchase! Just mention Save Lakewood Hospital with your order. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (13715 Madison Ave.)
Gift cards are a great choice for anyone on your holiday shopping list, too!
A local offers some nuanced analysis of last week’s election, via the Lakewood Observer:
…Issue 64 was not, itself, a referendum on closing Lakewood Hospital. What’s more, its defeat serves as a reminder that Lakewood’s electorate is home to more than one viewpoint. In studying the results of last Tuesday’s vote, it’s worth examining the point of view of Issue 64’s opponents. One of the most prominent publications to oppose Issue 64 warned that it “could doom Lakewood Hospital,” which certainly casts doubt on whether its defeat represented a mandate to close that same hospital.
The most consistent argument offered against Issue 64, on the other hand, may have been that the hospital’s future should be left up to City Council. If, in light of the issue’s rejection, we regard this proposition as endorsed by voters, it suggests that Tuesday’s results as a whole were a qualified vote against closing Lakewood Hospital.
No person or issue on this year’s ballot campaigned, formally, on a message that “Lakewood Hospital should close.” (Based on published candidate statements, mailings and web sites.) By contrast, a majority of council candidates approved by voters have criticized the proposed hospital closure and argued that Lakewood’s interests should be better defended.
As observed in Scene—and many, many other places—much of the argument surrounding Lakewood Hospital has bled into side-arguments and meta-controversies bordering on the surreal. Save Lakewood Hospital has tried to emphasize facts, and core issues. Yet the occasional, intentional diversion into humor does have its value, both as relief from a tense period for the community and possibly as a way to make an important point at the same time.
One recent post at the Lakewood Observer‘s online forum accomplishes both, to a degree that seems worth highlighting. Though the following is purely fictional and for entertainment purposes only, it does bear some resemblance to actual events which may or may not be intentional.Read More
From the Lakewood Observer Observation Deck Forum:
Post by Brian Essi » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:55 pm
Pillar of Medicine Award winner Terry E. Kilroy, M.D. is known by many thousands as a very dedicated physician who healed them and saved their lives. He has spent a great amount of his life in Lakewood Hospital. Each day, he gives the finest care to many–frequently without compensation. He is truly a great human being and a crown jewel at Lakewood Hospital.
What many may not know is that Dr. Kilroy was around in 1986 and in 1996 and warned City leaders and the rest of us back then of exactly what we are facing now.
From the Lakewood Observer:
The Lakewood City Council needs to answer certain specific questions in order make a valid judgement regarding our future health care, specifically the CCF Letter of Intent to close Lakewood Hospital. These answers need to be based on accurate, unbiased and comprehensive data derived from impartial and independent sources rather than those released only by the Cleveland Clinic.
First, what are the hospital needs of the citizens of Lakewood and our service area (Zip codes 44107, 44102, 44111, 44116 and 44135)? The average need in Ohio is 2.6 acute care beds per 1000 population. This indicates a need for 135 beds (2.6/1000 x 52,000) for our citizens and a total of 400 beds for our service area. We need to know four things regarding our current needs: 1) What are the hospitalized medical diagnoses (ICD-9 codes) and surgical procedures (CPT codes) that led to current hospitalizations? 2) Which hospitals were utilized by these patients and with what distribution? 3) What is the trend over the past 10 years for these numbers? 4) What is the reimbursement for each of these diagnoses and procedures?
Much of the argument about the future of Lakewood Hospital has become ever more inward-looking, the longer it has continued. Deluged with negative messages, many participants have accepted a premise that a full hospital in Lakewood is “guilty until proven innocent,” i.e. assumed to be unsustainable without concrete evidence to the contrary. Advocates of closing the hospital insist that there is “no plan” specific to Lakewood Hospital guaranteeing its continued operation, and that therefore none can ever be worked out.
Beyond the impracticality of obtaining a finished agreement to run Lakewood Hospital when the city’s present government refuses to engage seriously with alternate partners, this logic has another flaw: there is still a world outside of Lakewood. The Plain Dealer may not deign to report on it, but it is out there nonetheless, and includes other communities with relevant experience.
The city of Anamosa is certainly one of these. A friend of Save Lakewood Hospital who grew up there writes:
When I tell my family about my efforts to help Save Lakewood Hospital, this year, they are mystified. They are mystified that there is an argument over whether Lakewood ought to have a hospital.
My home town of Anamosa, Iowa, is slightly more than one-tenth the size of Lakewood. But it has a hospital. With inpatient services, surgeries, rehabilitation, etc.
The producer of a short video (it’s been fixed again) of Lakewood firefighters commenting on Lakewood Hospital, JP Findlay also had this to say – in early 2015:
“Lakewood Hospital, in local Lakewood, Ohio recently announced it would be closing it’s doors at the end of 2016. A decision that has left many Lakewood paramedics uneasy, to say the least.
Owned by the city and occupied by the Cleveland Clinic since 1996, Lakewood Hospital has a current lease on the building it occupies until 2026. The hospital is a 233-bed inpatient facility, which boasts a comprehensive stroke center, emergency department and cancer center.
Lakewood Hospital is perhaps most well-known as a highly regarded neurology center.Read More
The following commentary by members of Lakewood Fire Department was produced independently, prior to being brought to the attention of Save Lakewood Hospital. The original video was temporarily deleted several hours after coming to public notice; it is currently online again, though only available for viewing at the hosting site vimeo. We strongly recommend its message to the widest audience possible.
Former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich today filed a massive 80-count declaration with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, that asks the FTC to help save Lakewood Hospital by opening an investigation into the planned closing of the hospital by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF).
Kucinich’s action is welcome news to the Save Lakewood Hospital group because it expands documentation of the plot by the Clinic to shut down the 108-year-old community hospital, said vice chairman of Save Lakewood Hospital Tom Monahan. “It is a massive, well-reasoned, well-researched document that validates all of the efforts of those residents who have worked so hard to save our biggest asset and largest employer”, he said.
Kucinich asks that the FTC take legal action to protect Lakewood Hospital from being closed and merging all of Lakewood’s assets into the Clinic system.
Marguerite Harkness, chairperson of Save Lakewood Hospital said: “Mr. Kucinich researched additional resources that our investigators had not yet pursued and they show how the Clinic’s decanting plan to eradicate Lakewood Hospital was in the planning stages for a long time.”
The former Congressman cited the Letter of Intent (LOI) that is being used to structure a new Master Agreement as a self-serving document between the CCF and the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA). He points out that the LOI calls for the LHA to use its money to tear down the hospital, through language that was approved by the LHA and three of its members: Mayor Mike Summers, lame duck council president Mary Louise Madigan and councilman Tom Bullock.
Kucinich served Lakewood for two years as a state senator and 16 years as a Congressman.
Beginning in 2001, financial statements for Lakewood Hospital Association introduced a line for “Administrative services” costs. Starting at $2.4 million in 2001, these costs balloon to more than twenty-four million dollars in 2013. Save Lakewood Hospital has questioned high fees paid by LHA to the Cleveland Clinic for operating Lakewood Hospital, before, but the exact progression of this line item through 14 years should be sobering reading for everyone interested in Lakewood’s future:
Curiously, the bill for these Administrative services has ballooned fastest through those years which, the LHA and City of Lakewood have complained, Lakewood Hospital has been losing money owing to declining activity. It’s also worth noting that between 2008 and 2014, alone, the LHA paid $146 million for Administrative services—more than the entire predicted cost of building Cleveland Clinic’s new Avon hospital from the ground up.
Yet the nature of these expenses remains unexplained and unquestioned by the same LHA trustees and city administrators consistently asserting that Lakewood Hospital is financially unviable.
Lakewood Hospital and Lakewood deserve better stewardship than this.
Note: audited financial statements for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 are available from the City of Lakewood’s web site. Earlier statements have been released, by city Law Director Kevin Butler, in connection with a taxpayers’ lawsuit; please see this PDF with 2001 and 2002 Administrative services costs as comparison.
This November’s election will be tremendously important to the future of Lakewood and our hospital. As an informational campaign, Save Lakewood Hospital does not endorse any candidate for office. We do encourage every eligible voter to examine local races closely, however, and vote!
As a starting point, we offer this guide to candidate statements, interviews, etc.
General information: League of Women Voters guide (Sept. 29 Lakewood Observer pp. 12-13); cleveland.com council candidate discussions of Lakewood Hospital, charter amendment
Mayor of Lakewood: candidates interview at cleveland.com
City Council Ward 1
City Council Ward 2
City Council Ward 3
City Council Ward 4
The following is a letter posted on Cleveland.com
Our State Senator, Lakewood resident and former Lakewood Councilman Michael Skindell, a candidate for mayor of Lakewood, has publicly stated Lakewood Hospital (which Lakewood owns) can and should be saved.
He is right, but his opponent, Mayor Mike Summers, publicly, wrongly states it should be closed, as Cleveland Clinic, which leases it till 2026, insists, because it does not want Lakewood Hospital competing with its new hospital in Avon. MetroHealth expressed interest in running Lakewood Hospital, but that proposal was sabotaged by Summers. Electing Skindell will give Lakewood a fresh start with MetroHealth and an honest effort to find a good partner to run Lakewood Hospital, even if it has less beds and adds a wellness center. Lawyers for the Save Lakewood Hospital organization suing in court to save the hospital have discovered documents proving Cleveland Clinic planned years ago to weaken and close Lakewood Hospital.
Legislation introduced Sept. 8 in Lakewood City Council by lame duck councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan and councilman Tom Bullock (both voted to close the hospital as its trustees) and councilman Sam O’Leary would, if passed, authorize Law Director Kevin Butler to negotiate with Cleveland Clinic to close Lakewood Hospital. It does not allow Butler to negotiate with MetroHealth or anybody else that wants to save Lakewood Hospital. So it is a dirty deal from bad intentions, to serve Cleveland Clinic. In Ward 3, Mark Schneider is running for City Council. He wants to save Lakewood Hospital – unlike his opponent John Litten, who voted to close it as a Lakewood Hospital Trustee.
In the November general election a referendum should be on the ballot, by Save Lakewood Hospital, for Lakewood residents to vote to save the hospital, despite certain untrustworthy politicians acting as puppets of Cleveland Clinic, and big business vultures who would profit by replacing the hospital with something less valuable to the Lakewood public.
The first week of October is very busy for the debate about Lakewood Hospital.
Thursday, Oct. 1: Candidate Forum from 7-9 pm in Lakewood City Hall Auditorium. Candidates for School Board, Municipal Judge, City Council and Mayor will present their positions. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions. (Please note, campaign literature, apparel, signage, buttons, etc are not permitted inside the auditorium. Photography, audio and/or video recording of the candidates is prohibited.)
Saturday Oct. 3 Lakewood Hospital Informational Meeting from 9:30 – 11:30 am in Mr. Winton’s Den at Winton Place, 12700 Lake Ave.
(Tell the front desk that you are there for a meeting in Mr. Winton’s Den. You will be directed from there.)
Terry Kilroy, MD; Ashoka Nautiyal, MD; and Lakewood Hospital Foundation Physician Designees will be there; as well as Michael Summers, Mayor of Lakewood; and Michael Skindell, Ohio State Senator, District 23.
Sunday, October 4 Save Lakewood Hospital meeting at 4 p.m. in the main Lakewood Library.
Monday, October 5 Rally at 6:30 p.m. ahead of the City Council meeting, 12650 Detroit Ave. Wear RED! Bring Save Lakewood Hospital Signs! Tell your relatives, friends and neighbors… and children! We are kid-friendly!