Reality Check: Economic Impact

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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