Big Enough to Support a Hospital

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.

Read More

JP Findlay’s Project

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

Firefighters on Lakewood Hospital

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.

LFD on Lakewood Hospital Closing from Joe Finley on Vimeo.

Kucinich Asks FTC to Save Lakewood Hospital; Seeks Investigation

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.

The FTC filing is available online.

Administrative costs rise nearly 900% in 12 years?

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:

2001: $2,479,000
2002: $2,970,000
2003: $3,459,000
2004: $5,925,000
2005: $6,093,000
2006: $7,349,000
2007: $10,887,000
2008: $14,864,000
2009: $15,083,000
2010: $20,727,000
2011: $23,810,000
2012: $23,043,000
2013: $24,438,000
2014: $24,305,000

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.

2015 candidates information

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

Elect Skindell for Mayor to save Lakewood Hospital: Sun Post Herald Letter to the Editor

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.

Steve Gannis,

Lakewood

Upcoming rally, meetings schedule

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.

R.S.V.P. if you plan on attending as space is limited.
Nancy Roth: 216.375.5812 or Pat Vecchio: 216.228.6841

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!

More about St. Michael’s, Richmond

Former congressman Dennis Kucinich has been very active, during the past week, in promoting the fight for Lakewood Hospital. In addition to hosting local events, he has requested an investigation by Ohio’s attorney general.

Kucinich’s involvement has not proved popular with everyone. On Thursday, city council president Mary Madigan and law director Kevin Butler derided Kucinich’s actions, as well as his past efforts on behalf of St. Michael’s. Save Lakewood Hospital has reviewed facts about St. Michael’s, already; yesterday City of South Euclid councilman Marty Gelfand penned this further response about why efforts like Mr. Kucinich’s make a difference:

September 27, 2015

To the Editor of the Plain Dealer:

I read “Kucinich seeks state protection of assets,” (Sept. 25) and was taken aback by Councilwoman Madigan’s comments.

I was Congressman Kucinich’s senior counsel when we saved St. Michael and Richmond Heights hospitals. Those hospitals would have been leveled in early 2000 but for our intervention in state, federal, and Bankruptcy courts.  Cleveland Clinic would have fired every St. Michael employee on the spot if we had not legally blocked its maneuver. When St. Michael did close 3 years later, every employee was placed either in the UH system or in other area hospitals.

University Hospital Richmond Medical Center is thriving today, serving our constituents in South Euclid and competing with Cleveland Clinic hospitals in the eastern suburbs. Without our intervention in 2000, the Cleveland Clinic would have had a monopoly in northeast Cuyahoga County.

Madigan asks: where has Kucinich been? Although redistricted out of Congress after the 2010 census when Ohio lost 2 Congressional seats, he doesn’t need elective office to be an active citizen.  The rights to free speech, press and assembly as well as the right to petition our government for a redress of grievance belong to everyone.

Sincerely,
Marty Gelfand

View a PDF of Mr. Gelfand’s original letter

Why Lakewood Hospital is not St. Michael’s

Alongside the questions asked of Dennis Kucinich by journalists, at his press conference on Monday, a handful of attendees demanded “what about St. Michael’s?” Fifteen years ago, St. Michael’s Hospital in Slavic Village also faced closure, before a community effort aided by then-Congressman Kucinich intervened. The “Miracle on Broadway” resulted in a sale to University Hospitals, which spent several million dollars renovating St. Michael’s.

Yet, three years later, in December 2003 St. Michael’s closed its doors for good.

It is often remarked that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” and St. Michael’s does offer some lessons with relevance for Lakewood. These do not, however, include “give up, don’t fight for the hospital, it will only delay the inevitable.”

Read More

Kucinich hosts press conference, forum

Former congressman Dennis Kucinich addressed several representatives of local media Monday morning, in a press conference in front of Lakewood Hospital.

Distributing copies of the “decanting” plan and additional documents recently revealed in court, Kucinich asserted that Cleveland Clinic intentionally misled the city of Lakewood with promises of a new hospital. Urging Lakewood’s people and leadership to consider the new information becoming available, he called on the city to file a brief in support of the lawsuit for damages to Lakewood Hospital.

Kucinich also hosted a community forum in the evening, at the Lakewood main library. One attendee has posted photos here, and cleveland.com has a brief story about the forum here.

The documents Kucinich presented are available online at the end of this cleveland.com article.

WKYC and Fox8 have posted stories about the press conference; the Lakewood Observer has a draft transcript of Kucinich’s remarks, and photos.

Feature story in this week’s Scene

The new issue of Scene carries an extensive feature on “The Struggle to Save (or Close) Lakewood Hospital…” by Eric Sandy. This is a great opportunity to help friends and neighbors who aren’t closely following every event and update in this drawn-out fight; pick up a copy and pass it on.

The general story touted by the city is that “changes in health care” and “declining patient volumes” had forced the mayor’s hand. But as the opposition described to Scene, the Cleveland Clinic can pretty much dictate who goes where — i.e., which and how many Northeast Ohio patients take their health care business to which Clinic outpost. With services like pediatrics and trauma care being shipped elsewhere in the Clinic network from Lakewood Hospital, patient volumes began decreasing ipso facto. What patients were left were more often enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, kicking Clinic profits down another notch.

Very quickly, residents chipped away at claims that “changes in health care” were driving the losses. Puzzle pieces began locking into place. The data points that were being used to justify the hospital’s closure were direct consequences of the Clinic’s evolving policies over the past 10 years.

The complete story is also online.

Match Challenge

The next eight weeks are critical in our efforts to Save Lakewood Hospital.

In honor of Labor Day and all the hard work of SLH volunteers everywhere, an anonymous supporter is issuing a challenge to other SLH supporters this week.

For every dollar contributed to SLH through Thursday, September 17, this supporter will match that contribution up to $1000.

Contribute to SLH this week and your $20 becomes $40!  Your $50 becomes $100!  Your $100 becomes $200!

C’mon everyone, let’s have some fun way and raise some needed funds for SLH.  Show your support for SLH this week by making a generous contribution and doubling your money!

You can donate through the website or send a check made out to:

SAVE LAKEWOOD HOSPITAL
c/o Bill Call
14713 Lake Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107

Wallet feeling a little light?  It’s free to talk to your friends and neighbors!

Pinching pennies this month?  Call Mayor Summers (529-6600 or mayor@lakewoodoh.net) or Council President Madigan (228-9578 or mlmadigan9@hotmail.com) and tell them to keeps their paws off Lakewood Hospital!

All tapped out right now?  You can still come to a city council meeting and show your support!

Warnings in the Huron consulting report

Huron Consulting, retained by the city of Lakewood in June to study the Cleveland Clinic letter of intent and related issues, submitted its final report in August. Some important points to hang onto, as the debate over Lakewood Hospital proceeds to its next phase:

The 89-page presentation is, judged as a whole, painstakingly noncommittal. Its authors emphasize that they do not provide investment or legal advice (pp. 4, 52), and explicitly caution that they considered neither “the impact on employment in the City” nor Lakewood’s share of responsibility for maintaining acute care services in the community. Reasons for Lakewood Hospitals’s decline in patient volume receive a cursory examination, as well.

Given this context, however, readers should be all the more concerned by problems that Huron identifies with the management of Lakewood Hospital and proposals for its future.

Huron’s review of the search for alternative hospital partners is particularly troubling. From page 43: “It is our understanding that a release from Cleveland Clinic regarding potential tortious interference claims was not obtained upon the initial marketing of the Hospital. We would generally not conduct a sales process in such a circumstance without first obtaining a release (or permission) from the company managing or operating the hospital. [Emphasis added] It is not known if the lack of such a release impacted interest among potential buyers.”

Read More

Highest and Best Use

The coming days may be particularly important to demonstrate, to city council, support for keeping Lakewood Hospital open. Messages to members David Anderson (ward 1), Sam O’Leary (ward 2) and Cindy Marx (at large) are especially encouraged.

Save Lakewood Hospital president Marguerite Harkness has recently offered these comments to city council:

Hello Councilpersons,

The highest and best use of the hospital site is a fully-functioning inpatient hospital, with expanded outpatient facilities and services. (This includes the professional building, the south garage, and the auxiliary health building.)

Please keep in mind:

  • Lakewood’s population is declining moderately; we don’t need more housing.
  • Lakewood has loads of empty storefronts; we don’t need more retail space.
  • Lakewood restaurants are coming . . . and GOING; we don’t need more bars and restaurants.
  • Lakewood Center North is half empty; we don’t need more office space.

Fairview Hospital is JAMMED with Lakewood residents being sent there for medical services; what we NEED in Lakewood is a fully-functioning inpatient hospital.

And if we lose the 1100 jobs (over 1600 W-2’s which means actual people), we REALLY won’t need more housing, more retail space, more bars, or more office space.

Please know that physicians are eyeing our situation, and our efforts to preserve and create a fully-functioning hospital with independent physicians who can practice medicine and take care of their patients, HERE, in Lakewood.

They KNOW we will succeed, and they are actually making bold financial decisions that will be part of the solution that saves and expands our hospital.

There are over 1,000 independent physicians from Brooklyn to Rocky River, in about a dozen practices.  There is no shortage of medical staff to work here.

Thank you,

The Charter of the City of Lakewood OH

CHARTER OF THE CITY OF LAKEWOOD
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Second Amended Charter was adopted on November 7, 2000.  Dates appearing in parentheses following a section heading indicate those provisions were subsequently adopted, amended or repealed on the date given.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
   ARTICLE I.  POWERS
      §1.    Powers.
      §2.   Manner of Exercise.  (11-8-11)
      §3.   Interpretation.  (11-8-11)
   ARTICLE II.  THE EXECUTIVE
      §1.   Executive and Administrative Powers.
      §2.   Residency, Term and Qualifications of Mayor.
      §3.   Mayor Ex-Officio Director.
      §4.   Mayor’s Appointment Power.  (11-5-02)
      §5.   Salary of the Mayor. (11-8-05)
      §6.   General Powers and Duties of Mayor.
      §7.   Mayor’s Investigation.  (11-8-11)
      §8.   Acting and Interim Mayor.  (11-8-11)
      §9.   Location of Office; Full-Time Position.
      §10.   Right of Mayor and Directors in Council.
   ARTICLE III.  THE COUNCIL
      §1.   Membership, Election and Term.
      §2.   Qualifications and Vacancies.  (11-8-11)
      §3.   Salaries. (11-8-05)
      §4.   Meetings.
      §5.   Organization and Open Meetings.  (11-8-11)
      §6.   President of Council.
      §7.   Clerk, Vice President and Other Officers of Council.
      §8.   Enactment of Ordinances and Resolutions.
      §9.   Voter Approval of Ordinances and Resolutions. (11-8-05)
      §10.   Mayor’s Approval or Disapproval of Legislation.
      §11.   Recording of Legislation; Codified Ordinances.
      §12.   Publication.  (11-8-11)
      §13.   Effective Date of Legislation.
      §14.   Estimate of Expense; Appropriation Ordinances.
      §15.   Appropriations of Balance or Accruing Revenue Not Already Appropriated.
      §16.   Drawing Money from the Treasury; Unexpended Balances Revert.
      §17.   Bonds Required.
   ARTICLE IV.  DEPARTMENTS
      §1.   Departments Established.
      §2.   Directors of Departments.
   ARTICLE V.  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
      §1.   Duties of Director.
      §2.   Public Improvements.
   ARTICLE VI.  DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
§1.   Divisions Established.
      §2.   Duties of Director.
      §3.   Organization.
      §4.   Assignment of Duties.
      §5.   Suspension from Duties.
      §6.   Suspension of Chiefs.
      §7.   Appeal from Suspension.
   ARTICLE VII.  DEPARTMENT OF LAW
      §1.   Qualifications and Duties of Director.
      §2.   Duties Imposed by General Law.  (11-8-11)
   ARTICLE VIII.  THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
§1.   Duties.
      §2.   Accounting Procedure.
      §3.   Reports.
      §4.   Certification.
      §5.   Funds Subject to Certification.
      §6.   Failure to Comply.
   ARTICLE IX.  DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
      §1.   Duties of Director.
   ARTICLE X.  DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
      §1.   Duties of Director.
   ARTICLE XI.  CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
      §1.   Appointment and Term of Members.
      §2.   President; Secretary.
      §3.   Classified and Unclassified Service.
      §4.   Procedure.
      §5.   Salaries.
      §6.   Suspension of Commission Member.
      §7.   Advisory Salary Recommendations. (11-8-05)
   ARTICLE XII.  PLANNING COMMISSION
      §1.   Organization.
      §2.   Administrative Staff.
      §3.   Powers and Duties.
      §4.   Mandatory Referral.
   ARTICLE XIII.  BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
      §1.   Organization.
      §2.   Powers and Duties.
   ARTICLE XIV.  BOARD OF BUILDING STANDARDS AND BUILDING APPEALS
      §1.   Organization.  (11-5-02)
      §2.   Powers and Duties.
   ARTICLE XV.  LAKEWOOD HOSPITAL
§1.   Establishment; Board of Trustees.
      §2.   Term of Board Members.
      §3.   Duties and Powers of the Board.
      §4.   Lease Alternative.
   ARTICLE XVI.  IMPROVEMENTS AND ASSESSMENTS
      §1.   Local Improvements.
      §2.   Methods of Special Assessment.
      §3.   Preliminary Assessments.
      §4.   Notices Served.
      §5.   Plans and Proposed Improvements.
      §6.   Board of Revision of Assessments.
      §7.   Claims.
      §8.   Final Assessment.
      §9.   Damages Assessed.  (11-8-11)
      §10.   Work to be Done.
      §11.   Lands Unallotted or Not on Duplicate.
      §12.   Interest on Assessment Bonds.
      §13.   Limitation on Assessments.
      §14.   City’s Portion of Cost.
      §15.   Replacing Existing Improvements.
      §16.   Subsequent Improvements.
      §17.   Supplementary Assessments and Rebates.
      §18.   Sewer and Water Connections.
      §19.   Sidewalks.
      §20.   Further Proceedings Unnecessary.
      §21.   Assessment Bonds.
      §22.   Alterations or Modifications in Contract.
      §23.   Plat of Subdivision.
      §24.   Fee Shall Vest in City.
      §25.   Streets and Public Grounds.
      §26.   Alteration of Streets.
      §27.   Dedication of Streets.
      §28.   Vacation or Change of Name.
      §29.   Taxation Without Vote.
      §30.   Levy for Police and Firemen’s Disability and Pension Fund.
      §31.   Levy for Reconstruction, Expansion, Operation and Maintenance of a Sewer Disposal Plant.  (11-8-11)
   ARTICLE XVII.  APPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY
      §1.   Appropriation.
      §2.   Declaratory Resolution.
      §3.   Notice.  (11-8-11)
      §4.   Further Proceedings.
   ARTICLE XVIII.  FRANCHISES
      §1.   Grant.
      §2.   Renewals.
      §3.   Extension.
      §4.   Consents.
      §5.   Regulations.
   ARTICLE XIX.  ELECTIONS
      §1.   Regular and Special Municipal Elections.  (11-5-02)
      §2.   Primary Elections.  (11-4-08)
      §3.   Election Procedures.  (11-5-02)
      §4.   Certificate of Nomination When No Primary is Held.  (11-5-02)
      §5.   Designation of Candidates.  (11-5-02)
      §6.   Declarations of Candidacy.  (11-6-12)
      §7.   Ballot Form.  (11-5-02)
      §8.   Nomination and Election of Judges.  (11-5-02)
   ARTICLE XX.  INITIATIVE.
      §1.   Right to Initiative.
      §2.   Form of Petition.
      §3.   Signatures to Petition.
      §4.   Filing of Petition.
      §5.   Additional Signatures.
      §6.   Hearing by Council Committee.
      §7.   Action by Council.
      §8.   Power of Council.
      §9.   Certification; Supplemental Petition.
      §10.   Submission to Electors.
      §11.   Ballot Form.
      §12.   Repealing Ordinances.
      §13.   Publication, Amendment or Repeal.
   ARTICLE XXI.  REFERENDUM
      §1.   Right to Referendum.
      §2.   Form of Petition.
      §3.   Signatures to Petition.
      §4.   Filing of Petition.
      §5.   Additional Signatures.
      §6.   Procedure.
      §7.   Ballot Form.
      §8.   Majority Vote.
      §9.   Enactments Not Subject to Referendum.
      §10.   Initiated Ordinance Subject to Referendum.
      §11.   Referendum of Measures Taking Early Effect.
      §12.   Acts Preliminary to Election.
   ARTICLE XXII.  RECALL
      §1.   Recall Procedure.
      §2.   Petitions.
      §3.   Signatures.
      §4.   Filing and Certification.
      §5.   Supplemental Petitions.
      §6.   Recall Election.
      §7.   Ballots.
      §8.   Succeeding Officer.
      §9.   State Law Governs Where No Charter Provision.
   ARTICLE XXIII.  GENERAL PROVISIONS
      §1.   Continuance of Present Officers.
      §2.   Oath of Office.
      §3.   Activity of Officials and Employees Restricted.  (5-8-07)
      §4.   Continuance of Contracts.
      §5.   Continuance of Other Enactments.
      §6.   Amendments.
      §7.   Severability.
      §8.   Charter Review Commission.
      §9.   Exceptions for Bonds, Notes and Other Debt Instruments.
THE SECOND AMENDED CHARTER

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Huron Consulting report, other news

Huron Consulting, commissioned by the city to study Lakewood Hospital, has completed its final report. Certain of its observations have generated much discussion, among them:

Huron’s John Bodine spoke to city council about the findings on Monday. As reported at cleveland.com, Dr. George Khuri, a physician at Lakewood Hospital and a board member of Premier Physicians stated that the group of independent physicians is “more committed than ever to Lakewood Hospital and the city of Lakewood.” Look for more analysis and responses to the Huron report in the days ahead.

In the meantime…Read More

Please attend August 19 “vision workshop”

This one’s simple: if you support keeping Lakewood’s hospital, please attend the “vision workshops” scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 19, and say so.

In a curious move, the city of Lakewood has announced a meeting to consider “design uses for the land currently occupied by Lakewood Hospital.” The first meeting is scheduled 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the community room at University of Akron’s Lakewood branch, 14725 Detroit Ave.

The premise of this, and proposed subsequent meetings, seems to overlook one or two realities:

  • The city has yet to make (or demonstrate that support exists to make) a decision that would remove Lakewood Hospital from the site in question.
  • Meanwhile, excitement over alternate uses for “very valuable land that is in high demand” ignores the sizable amount of commercial space in Lakewood sitting unoccupied already. If “high demand” was indeed a sure bet to replace the economic activity that Lakewood Hospital generates, why are there lots languishing, condemned or completely empty, on Madison and Detroit?

It’s worth emphasizing that at present, the only real plan for Lakewood Hospital is keeping Lakewood Hospital. The city of Lakewood has an agreement obliging Cleveland Clinic to maintain hospital services at the property for another decade (and “we don’t feel like it any more” does not invalidate that obligation). Proponents of writing off the hospital have some imaginary design concepts, and a claim of “high demand” that evidence around us does not support.

Lakewood’s mayor asserts that “we want to know what our citizens envision on that land.” Let’s help him out.

“Decanting” Lakewood Hospital

On June 21, 2012, three years before the plan to close and raze Lakewood Hospital was revealed to the public and beneficiaries of the charitable trust, Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) representatives met to discuss the decanting plan of Lakewood Hospital. (Ex. 2).

Under the decanting plan,

  • 30-45 beds from Lakewood Hospital’s nursing unit will be moved to Fairview Hospital;
  • 16 intensive care unit beds at Lakewood Hospital will be moved to Fairview Hospital;
  • Fairview Hospital will absorb 700-800 births per year from Lakewood Hospital;
  • 7,000-8,000 Lakewood Hospital inpatient emergency department visits will be moved to Fairview Hospital;
  • 1,315-1,773 inpatient surgeries per year will be moved from Lakewood Hospital to Fairview Hospital;
  • Lakewood Hospital physicians will be moved to Fairview Hospital and other CCF wholly-owned hospitals;
  • 12 geropsych beds will be moved from Lakewood Hospital to Lutheran Hospital;
  • Lakewood Hospital’s vascular laboratory will be moved to Fairview Hospital;
  • some Lakewood Hospital inpatient beds will be moved to Fairview Hospital;
  • and inpatient surgery and the catheterization laboratory at Lakewood Hospital will be moved to Fairview Hospital. (Ex. 1).

All of these services, employees, and equipment that have been moved and will continue to be moved away from Lakewood Hospital are City assets. More importantly, those assets belong to a charitable trust for the charitable purpose of providing high quality health care to the third party beneficiaries of the trust: City taxpayers and residents, Lakewood Hospital employees, and the general public.

The need for these medical services, including inpatient surgery, is demonstrated by CCF’s Master Plan for Fairview Hospital showing Lakewood Hospital’s 1,773 surgery cases being transferred (i.e. decanted) to CCF’s wholly-owned Fairview Hospital.

Read more here: 2015.07.31.01.Reply in Support of PI w Exhibits-2

A right to vote on our hospital’s future

Lakewood Hospital belongs to the people of Lakewood, and we deserve real participation in any decision about its future. The Right to Vote campaign is currently collecting signatures to place a charter amendment on this fall’s ballot, to require a vote of the people if the city wants to close Lakewood Hospital.

Save Lakewood Hospital has been working to help collect signatures; the easiest way to help out is to sign a petition. Saturday, August 1 and August 8 you can sign the petition from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 11910 Detroit Ave (Skindell for Mayor campaign office). Help us tell the city council and Lakewood Hospital Association that this needs to be our vote, not just theirs!

You can also help keep the momentum building for Save Lakewood Hospital on Tuesday, August 4, by stopping in Jammy Buggars any time from 11 a.m. to midnight. Order anything, and Jammy Buggars will donate 15% of your bill; just mention “Save Lakewood Hospital” and they will do the rest! You’ve got to eat, anyway, right?

Rally for Medicare, and Lakewood Hospital

Thanks to all who helped celebrate Medicare’s 50th birthday on Thursday. (Special thanks to all our friends from the UAW!)

Approximately 200 joined other rallies nationwide to call for sustaining and expanding equitable access to health care. After festivities at Lakewood Park, everyone marched down the street to Lakewood Hospital. Cleveland.com has a write-up; some of our favorite photos follow:

Save Lakewood Hospital member Mike Deneen's four-legged friend was into the spirit of things early
Save Lakewood Hospital member Mike Deneen’s four-legged friend was into the spirit of things early
SLH Chair Marguerite Harkness, arriving in style
SLH Chair Marguerite Harkness, arriving in style
Michelle Mahon of National Nurses United, a tireless friend
Michelle Mahon of National Nurses United, a tireless friend and advocate
Lots of support for Lakewood Hospital, and Medicare, from all generations
Lots of support for Lakewood Hospital, and Medicare, from across generations

What’s the alternative?

Proponents of razing Lakewood Hospital and approving the Cleveland Clinic letter of intent would have us believe that there is no other option on the table. “Where’s their alternative,” they ask—though only rhetorically, because if they were actually to ask Save Lakewood Hospital they would receive an answer:

There is a viable alternative. Insist on the Clinic living up to its responsibilities.

The Cleveland Clinic signed a lease to run Lakewood Hospital, and provide specific services, through 2026. It’s now 2015; much can happen in a decade. Therefore, even setting aside serious doubts about the sincerity with which the mayor and hospital association actually tried to secure a new partner, there is no reason to assume that “there’s no alternative to the Clinic” is a final, unalterable fact.

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Medicare Turns 50!

July 30th Celebration of Medicare ‘s 50th Birthday and March to Save Lakewood Hospital

On July 30th communities from over 45 cities across the US will gather to celebrate one of the most successful social programs in US history- Medicare.

Protecting and celebrating  Medicare and protecting our hospital go hand in hand.  Join thousands of people across the US as well as right here at home to ensure that everyone who needs high quality care has it where and when they need it most.

11-1 Press conference, Lunch, games, music & more

12-1 Speakers

1-2 March from Lakewood Park to Lakewood Hospital ( 1mile round trip)

0515_M50_NatlDayAction_Lakewood

An unforgettable July 4 parade

Under a bright July sky on Saturday, Save Lakewood Hospital marched in review before the Lakewood community—and met with a rousing, moving show of enthusiasm from one end of the July 4 parade to the other. The Lakewood Observer reports that Save Lakewood Hospital was the largest community group marching on Saturday. The response from parade-watchers included many thumbs-up and considerable applause.

The Observer has two photo galleries from the parade, here and here; cleveland.com has a selection of photos as well.

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What’s going on this summer

There is no summer vacation from the work to save Lakewood Hospital. Here’s a little of what’s going on as July gets rolling:

  • City Council President Mary Louise Madigan has decided against seeking re-election. With Eric Deamer also exiting the race, it looks almost inevitable that Ward Four will be represented by Dan O’Malley, who told NEOMG’s correspondent that “he strongly believes some sort of hospital with inpatient beds should remain in the city.”
  • The lawsuit filed by Chris DeVito and other supporters of Save Lakewood Hospital is making its way to trial in a relatively brisk fashion. At this stage, little formal media coverage is likely, but judging by recent documentary investigation posted at the Lakewood Observer forum, shining a light on the full history of the Letter Of Intent may reveal quite a lot.
  • Lakewood’s weather forecast for July 4, 2015 looks gorgeous. Please join us for the parade; participants will gather from 9 a.m. and the parade begins at 10.

Why saving Lakewood Hospital matters

WHY DO WE NEED A HOSPITAL IN LAKEWOOD?

We the residents of Lakewood, own the hospital and the equipment.  Cleveland Clinic does not own it.  The mayor does not own it.  City Council does not own it.  We own it.  It was originally established to take care of Lakewood residents and keep us well.

91 MINUTES IS TOO LONG!
Our cardiologists tell us you have only 90 minutes from arrival at hospital, to getting the balloon in the artery (to save the patient’s life).  It takes more than 90 minutes if you are at Lakewood Hospital and Cleveland Clinic insists on transporting you to Fairview Hospital.  You might not make it.  Cleveland Clinic is ignoring the time of transport and pretending they can meet this time window.

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Skindell runs for mayor, other news

State Senator Michael Skindell announced this week that he is running for Mayor of Lakewood, and making the preservation of Lakewood Hospital central to his campaign. Skindell will challenge incumbent mayor Michael Summers, who has advocated a Cleveland Clinic proposal to replace the hospital with a much smaller health center.

Criticizing Summers’s approach as secretive and exclusionary, Skindell said that “Public office is a public trust. The present Mayor has repeatedly violated that trust by attempting to close Lakewood Hospital, which is viable and which I pledge to keep open. …I am pleased to join with our citizens who are fighting for Lakewood by fighting against the closure of Lakewood Hospital.”

Meanwhile, City Council has selected Huron Consulting Services to review the assertions for and against the Cleveland Clinic proposal. City law director Kevin Butler announced the choice earlier this week at a city council meeting, which also heard arguments from Tom Monahan and other voices from Save Lakewood Hospital.

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Donations are very welcome, but are not tax exempt.

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  • Thank you for your donation to Save Lakewood Hospital. We can't Save Lakewood Hospital without your help. Your donation is NOT tax deductible, but it means we can continue to fight.
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Lawsuit filed against Clinic, city of Lakewood

Arguments over the future—and past—of health care in Lakewood are going to court. At a press conference this morning, attorney Chris DeVito announced that he has filed suit against the Cleveland Clinic, the government of Lakewood and others, on behalf of the people of Lakewood.

DeVito is seeking $400 million in damages, on behalf of Lakewood, for breach of contract, fraud, and other harm resulting from mismanagement of the city-owned hospital. In addition to compensation for damages, the lawsuit calls for Cleveland Clinic to comply with all terms of its lease of Lakewood Hospital, currently effective through 2026.

Based on Mayor Summers’s insistence that the Clinic’s letter of intent, which would break that lease, requires a response from Lakewood as soon as possible, DeVito hopes Judge John P. O’Donnell will expedite the suit’s path to court.

Further details, and a copy of the lawsuit itself, are available at cleveland.com.

Metrohealth, other updates

The CEO of Metrohealth has replied to a letter from Lakewood’s mayor, declining to commence any new proposal for Lakewood Hospital. As reported at cleveland.com, Mayor Summers has since assured Metrohealth that contrary to its objection, Lakewood is “not bound to any agreement with the Cleveland Clinic regarding the future of Lakewood Hospital.”

Lakewood city council has recently joined the back-and-forth, seeking a more direct conversation. Council vice president Ryan Nowlin has asked Metrohealth’s CEO to meet council in person; any response remains unknown at present.

Meanwhile, council has taken other steps away from the Cleveland Clinic letter of intent. Council has solicited proposals from consultants to investigate most of the arguments advanced by the Clinic, and by the consulting firm Subsidium which presented its own findings earlier this year.

Finally, attorney Chris DeVito (who challenged the city of Lakewood to take Cleveland Clinic to court, in April) will announce further news this Thursday, May 28. Save Lakewood Hospital supporters are invited to meet at the corner of Belle and Detroit avenues at 11 a.m.

Lakewood’s Mayor Approaches Metrohealth

In a novel development, Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers has written to the CEO of Metrohealth, inquiring after its interest in operating Lakewood Hospital.

As reported at cleveland.com today, a May 18 letter from Summers poses a series of questions about terms on which Metrohealth might provide hospital services in Lakewood. The possibility of maintaining a full-service hospital is among these.

Combined with Summers’s declaring himself “duty-bound as mayor to explore every option available to the citizens of Lakewood,” the letter constitutes a significant change of emphasis from the mayor’s recent advocacy of the Cleveland Clinic’s letter of intent.

Excellent rally turnout at City Hall

Thank you to everyone who helped with Save Lakewood Hospital’s rally Monday evening. An energetic crowd of young and old stretched from one corner of Lakewood City Hall’s block to the other, reminding city council that the community will be heard on our hospital’s future.

Several speakers also addressed the rally, including Michelle Mahon of National Nurses United, State Senator Mike Skindell, and multiple Lakewood residents testifying to how important Lakewood Hospital has been in their lives.

Following the rally, Save Lakewood Hospital Chair Marguerite Harkness led a delegation presenting city council with well over 2,000 signatures calling for Lakewood Hospital to remain open.

Senator Skindell has posted some photos to Twitter. Local media turned out for the rally as well; cleveland.com has posted a story (with video). Check back for more updates.

Save Lakewood Hospital to Hold Rally, Present Petitions to Lakewood City Council

***Press Release***
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bill Grulich,

May 18, 2015

Communications Chair   (216) 521-1239

Save Lakewood Hospital to Hold Rally, Present Petitions to Lakewood City Council

Lakewood, Ohio — On Monday, May 18, 2015, Supporters of Save Lakewood Hospital will rally and present petitions containing more than 2,000 signatures to Lakewood City Council. The petitions request City Council to reject a proposal brought forward in January by Mayor Mike Summers to close Lakewood Hospital and to establish a Cleveland Clinic Family Wellness Center. The proposal was memorialized on January 14, 2015, in a “Letter of Intent” signed by Lakewood Hospital Association, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Lakewood Hospital Foundation.

Save Lakewood Hospital Rally

When: Monday, May 18, 2015 at 6:30-7:30 p.m. Where: Front of Lakewood City Hall

12650 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, Ohio

Presentation of Petitions

When: Monday, May 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Where: Council Chamber – City Hall

12650 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, Ohio

Save Lakewood Hospital is a grassroots citizens’ organization and was formed following the announcement of the proposal to close of Lakewood Hospital. Save Lakewood Hospital has been working with elected officials, community leaders, medical professionals, residents of the service territory of the Hospital and local businesses to preserve and promote Lakewood Hospital as a full service community hospital.

Lakewood Hospital was founded in 1907 by a group of doctors and became a municipal public hospital in 1930. Currently, the City of Lakewood leases the hospital to the Lakewood Hospital Association. In 1996, the Lakewood Hospital Association entered into a long-term lease ending in 2026 with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for the operation of the hospital. The proposal outlined by the January 2015 Letter of Intent, would terminate the lease and result in the closure and demolition of the hospital. The Cleveland Clinic is currently constructing a new hospital in Avon, Ohio.

“The fact that the Cleveland Clinic does not need Lakewood Hospital does not mean Lakewood Hospital is not needed to meet the healthcare needs of our community,” said Marguerite Harkness, CPA, Chairwoman of Save Lakewood Hospital. “City Council must reject the Letter of Intent,” Ms. Harkness added.

Vice Chairman of Save Lakewood Hospital, Thomas Monahan stated: “The case for closure of Lakewood Hospital has not been made. The Cleveland Clinic is responsible for the reduction in patient volume by referring patients to other facilities and diminishing services. City Council must reject the Letter of Intent and pursue enforcement of the current contracts or seek another healthcare partner.”

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The Atlantic reports on Lakewood Hospital & similar communities

Writing for The Atlantic, Phil Galewitz examines the trend of hospitals abandoning older neighborhoods and cities like Lakewood, in pursuit of suburban affluence. The example of Belleville, Illinois’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital may sound eerily familiar:

Describing plans to leave behind some services, including a walk-in clinic, St. Elizabeth’s CEO Maryann Reese insists the hospital is not abandoning the city or the poor.

But that’s exactly how many residents, community leaders, and clergy see it. If St. Elizabeth’s leaves downtown, they say, it will limit care for many poorer residents, especially those dependent on public transportation, and lead to overcrowding at the city’s one other hospital, which is downsizing. Many also worry about the loss of jobs and of the visitors to the hospital who patronize local shops and eateries.

Geri Boyer, who runs a bed and breakfast and an engineering firm on Main Street, said that as a Catholic, she’s “appalled” by the hospital’s plan. “I do think they are putting profit motivations over the mission of serving the poor. I am upset and embarrassed for [them].”

“Communities can be tipped by the loss of a vital medical institution,” the Belleville police captain John Moody II wrote in a scathing letter about the plan to a state review board. “There is too much at stake and the loss will be catastrophic and I fear unrecoverable.”

Hospitals have moved to follow population migrations before, but the relocations are becoming more common.

Read the whole story at The Atlantic.

Cleveland Clinic shies from commitment

The Cleveland Clinic has claimed an ongoing “commitment to Lakewood,” despite its campaign to escape its lease agreement and demolish the city’s hospital. Commitment, however, seemed to be the most elusive quantity when Clinic representatives addressed city council Thursday night.

As reported at cleveland.com,

Councilwoman Cindy Marx asked if Cleveland Clinic officials would guarantee Lakewood Hospital employees jobs elsewhere if the local hospital closed. [Clinic chief of regional hospitals Brian] Donley said the clinic looks to provide every employee in good standing who wants a job with a job somewhere in the Cleveland Clinic system or with a partner. However, after the meeting, he said that while the Clinic would make every effort to place every employee, he would not use the word “guarantee.”

Meanwhile, Clinic representatives boasted of how their proposed family health center would offer residents more services than Lakewood Hospital (from which the Clinic has been eliminating services). Despite which, “Clinic officials could not [specify] which specialties would be available at the Lakewood facility. That is yet to be determined.”

Read More

MetroHealth says it offered proposal for Lakewood Hospital

By Bruce Geiselman, Northeast Ohio Media Group 
on April 29, 2015 at 2:16 PM

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Save Lakewood Hospital and its supporters have urged the city to find another health care provider, such as MetroHealth Medical Center, to keep open Lakewood Hospital.

Lakewood Hospital Association trustees repeatedly have said MetroHealth withdrew from talks about operating the hospital, but a MetroHealth spokeswoman on Tuesday seemed to say Lakewood made the decision.

“Yes we responded to the [request for proposals],” MetroHealth spokeswoman Tina Shaerban Arundel said in a written statement. “The city of Lakewood decided to go with the Clinic’s proposal.”

Arundel also said MetroHealth is interested in working with communities on meeting their health care needs.

“We are always looking at ways to collaborate with health care providers and community leaders to see if there’s a role MetroHealth can play in building up the health of the community,” she said.

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Closing Lakewood Hospital may cost $300 million/year

On Monday, Save Lakewood Hospital chair Marguerite Harkness presented city council with a troubling warning about the economic impact of eliminating the city’s hospital.

Save Lakewood Hospital’s research and finance committees calculate that the hospital contributes more than $294 million to Lakewood, annually, far in excess of the city’s own estimates. Harkness modeled her report on an economic impact report prepared by the Iowa Hospital Association.

Harkness’s appearance has been reported by cleveland.com, here. Her complete presentation to council follows.

Author’s note: “As is typical, Council generously granted me only 3 minutes at the end of the meeting and cut me off mid-sentence. How are they going to learn about other options for saving the hospital, if they don’t allow educated citizens to present information to them?”Read More

Rebuttal to Mayor’s comments on Channel 43

You can watch the Save LW Hospital Reply on Channel 19, online or:

Wednesday April 29 – Monday May 4

Wednesday April 29, 2015 (end of the 6 pm newscast)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 (end of the 10 pm newscast)

Thursday, April 30, 2015 (end of the Noon newscast)

Thursday, April 30, 2015 (end of the 5 pm newscast)

Thursday, April 30, 2015 (end of the 10 pm newscast)

Friday, May 1, 2015 (end of the Noon newscast)

Saturday, May 2, 2015 (end of the 6 pm newscast)

Saturday, May 2, 2015 (end of the 11 pm newscast)

Sunday, May 3, 2015 (end of the 6:30 pm newscast)

Sunday, May 3, 2015 (end of the 10 pm newscast)

Sunday, May 3, 2015 (end of the 11 pm newscast)

Monday, May 4, 2015 (end of the Noon newscast)

Hospitals Leaving Poorer Communities

kaiser health hospital relocationBelleville Mayor Mark Eckert stands outside St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, which is looking to move to wealthier digs.

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital has been a downtown bedrock of Belleville, Illinois, since 1875.

The Catholic hospital is so tied to this southern Illinois city that when the local economy slumped in 2009, the non-profit St. Elizabeth’s gave $20 to every employee to spend on Main Street, sending hundreds of shoppers out to the mostly mom and pop-owned stores.

But “St. E’s,” as locals call it, now faces its own financial troubles, largely a result of the costs of maintaining an obsolete facility and of growing numbers of low-income and uninsured patients from Belleville and neighboring East St. Louis, one of the poorest cities in the Midwest.

Like a small but growing number of hospitals around the country, St. Elizabeth’s is taking a radical step. Hospital officials plan to close the 303-bed hospital and are seeking state approval to build a $300-million facility seven miles northeast, in O’Fallon. It’s a wealthier city that is one of the fastest-growing communities in the St. Louis region with new subdivisions, proximity to a regional mall, and quick access to Interstate 64.

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Taking the Financial Temperature of the Possible Lakewood Hospital Closure

Taking the Financial Temperature of the Possible Lakewood Hospital Closure

Posted By  on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 10:23 am

upfront1.JPG

Since city leaders first announced that Lakewood Hospital would be “redesigned to fit community needs,” i.e. “transitioned into a wellness campus,” Lakewood City Council has held a number of hearings to explain all sorts of angles to the news. In short, there’s no sense that the Letter of Intent signed with Cleveland Clinic will be done away with; rather, the city is just trying to find ways to “manage.”

The immediate 2016 financial impact of the measure would involve a $1.5- to $1.7-million hit to the city’s general fund. That’s 4 percent of general fund revenues. (Council members later pushed back during a Monday night meeting, saying that the loss could be greater, as it’s possible and likely that salaries and income tax withholdings of the 150-250 wellness campus employees will not proportionally match the salaries and income tax withholdings of the 1,000-plus Lakewood Hospital employees. But that’s one of seemingly hundreds of unknowns at this point.)

The point is: This would be a blow to Lakewood.

“This is going to be a loss,” Council President Mary Louise Madigan said, avoiding the subjunctive. “We know that. We’re trying to manage our future.”

While none of this is final, it sure feels like it at Lakewood City Hall.
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NPR, other media notice

Tuesday’s announcement of potential legal action against the City of Lakewood has generated further coverage of Lakewood Hospital. Ideastream has posted a story, here; the announcement is also the lead in the most recent Lakewood Observer.

Also in the Observer, critical comments about the “letter of intent” scenario from Dr. Terence Kilroy and Jared Denman.

At cleveland.com, meanwhile, John Vacha critiques the consequences of the Cleveland Clinic model for urban sprawl, and Coletta Graham calls on Lakewood to rally in our hospital’s defense.

City of Lakewood faces lawsuit for hospital management

Attorney Christopher M. DeVito has called on the City of Lakewood to defend its contractual rights, under its lease agreement with Cleveland Clinic, rather than cooperating with the Clinic to liquidate Lakewood Hospital.

Supported by Senator Michael Skindell and other Save Lakewood Hospital members, DeVito addressed local news media at a press conference outside the hospital Tuesday morning. DeVito explained that he has written Lakewood Law Director Kevin Butler, calling on him to file a lawsuit on or before May 1 to “preserve and ensure the continued operation of Lakewood Hospital for the benefit of the Lakewood community.”

In the event the City fails to file a lawsuit by the May 1 deadline, DeVito intends to file a lawsuit on behalf of the residents and taxpayers of the City of Lakewood.

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Hospital campaign gaining support, logo

Save Lakewood Hospital has introduced a new image to complement its campaign. Incorporating both the heritage of Lakewood Hospital, represented by its distinctive architectural presence, and the pulse of the living community that is rallying to save the hospital, the graphic will identify Save Lakewood Hospital communications and programs. The design was prepared by local studio Modern Alchemy.

In other news, support for Lakewood Hospital continues attracting media notice. The Lakewood Observer has recently published a detailed critique of the hospital closure plan by state senator Michael Skindell, as well as an impassioned letter from Joe Gombarcik. The Sun Post-Herald has recently published two letters supporting the hospital, and Save Lakewood Hospital’s efforts.

Thank you to all who have spoken up. Please continue making your voices heard!

Save Lakewood Hospital in the news

Save Lakewood Hospital ally Steve Dever has filed a formal request for Lakewood Hospital Association meeting minutes and related records, cleveland.com reported this week. As Dever and fellow legal professionals have discussed, many of these documents should fall within formal public records definitions; Dever adds that maintenance of public trust also argues for disclosure of precisely how Lakewood Hospital arrived at the crisis which Cleveland Clinic alleges.

The City of Lakewood is expected to respond to Dever’s request by the end of this week.

In other news, cleveland.com also published another letter supportive of keeping a full-fledged hospital operating in Lakewood.

Skindell to Council: hospital is still very viable

State Senator Michael Skindell recently addressed Lakewood City Council about Lakewood Hospital’s future; cleveland.com has coverage here, and the Senator’s office has issued the following news release:

Senator Skindell Says There Is No Need to Close Lakewood Hospital

Calls on City Council to take immediate action to keep the facility open

Columbus – State Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) is calling on Lakewood City Council to reject plans to close Lakewood Hospital in 2016.  Speaking at a city council meeting last night, Senator Skindell said there was no need to close Lakewood Hospital and called the closure plans misguided.

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Senator Michael Skindell addresses Save Lakewood Hospital meeting

State Senator Michael Skindell spoke to Save Lakewood Hospital, Sunday evening. Among approximately 20 attendees at the campaign’s second meeting, Senator Skindell reaffirmed his conviction that Lakewood Hospital can and should be saved.

The Cleveland Clinic’s proposal to shut down the hospital and substitute a smaller health center is not Lakewood’s only option, Skindell said. “There are opportunities out there,” he told the meeting, adding that he will urge City Council meeting to issue an open, public request for proposals. Skindell will be addressing City Council at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 12.

Senator Skindell and others present also described options and requirements for a community vote on the future of Lakewood Hospital, and other potential courses of action.

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Anderson: city should hire our own consultant

Cleveland.com reports today that “City councilman David Anderson wants [Lakewood city] council to consider hiring a health care consultant to help decide whether to approve a controversial plan to close and demolish the city-owned hospital.”

Writes Bruce Geiselman, “Anderson told council colleagues the city and residents would benefit from its own advice on what is in the best interests of residents, rather than relying on information from a hospital-hired consultant.”

Following Councilman O’Leary’s recent call for study of the economic consequences of closing Lakewood Hospital, this is encouraging news. The Cleveland Clinic plan, which requires approval by our city council, is not a done deal. Let members of council know that you support proper investigation of all options for our hospital, rather than just rubber-stamping the Clinic’s letter of intent.

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