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.