City Councilman protests Cleveland Clinic tactics

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, 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.”

The Clinic’s senior director of corporate communications Heather Philips insists that “Health care is changing,” and that the move is about “bringing in new services to Euclid.” As Councilman Polensek is likely aware, however, removing services from Lakewood Hospital was allegedly about bringing in new services also. This, however, was simply false as revealed by much the kind of “playbook” to which Mr. Polensek refers.

Councilman Polensek has published additional statements in the Collinwood Observer calling for united resistance to the planned removal of services from Euclid. His comments follow sharp criticism by other officials of the recent, sudden shutdown of a Clinic-run emergency room in Sagamore Hills—a move which Ms. Phillips also insisted was positive news. It appears that more and more elected leaders are speaking up to reject Clinic spin.

Some day Lakewood’s may join them, if citizens give them a push.