Exclusionary governance leaves Lakewood divided

For Immediate Release —

We are grateful to the substantial number of Lakewood citizens who voted to repeal the ordinance that closed Lakewood Hospital. The campaign represented tens of thousands of hours of hard work by citizens who were not paid for their time, but rather were motivated by the desire to see that Lakewood remains a strong, viable community that has the kind of healthcare it truly deserves.

Although the campaign was not successful, the substantial vote against the ordinance demonstrates that officials failed to obtain broad consensus and public confidence, in their decision to close Lakewood Hospital and transfer the assets to a private entity without competitive bidding. The ordinance to close Lakewood Hospital was crafted through closed-door meetings by Lakewood City Council, Lakewood Hospital Association and Lakewood Hospital Foundation. By making decisions behind closed doors, City Council lost sight of what was in the best interests of the citizens of Lakewood. The lack of transparency resulted in a divided community.

Our campaign, unlike opponents’, has never promised that any outcome of Issue 64 would solve all of Lakewood’s healthcare challenges at once. We hoped to defeat a specific measure that actively limits our options for addressing those challenges, and while we did not do so on Tuesday, challenges of access, quality, equity and accountability persist. The duty to find solutions to these challenges must persist as well.

As we move onward following this vote, we look to our public servants to support an open and transparent process to ensure that everyone in our community has access to affordable healthcare. We are committed to uniting our community behind this effort.

For questions and comments, our contact information is below.

Kevin Young
Media Relations
Save Lakewood Hospital
216-344-0743

Broken Promise of “Quality Healthcare” Exposed in Poignant Interview

For Immediate Release —

As Lakewood citizens stand poised to reject the ordinance that closed their community owned hospital, stories of sub-standard care at Lakewood’s “freestanding emergency department,” costly transfers from the “ED” to other hospitals, and overcrowding at Fairview Hospital, are mounting.

The promises of “Quality Health Care” by city officials in the wake of the hospital’s closing are clearly questionable, in the minds of many Lakewood voters.

Dan and Trish Defabbo of Lakewood know firsthand that this promise of “Quality Healthcare” is nothing more than another campaign slogan pitched by politicians.

In this video, the Defabbos chronicle what happened when Mr. Defabbo had a dangerously high fever and needed emergency care. At 70 years old, Mr, Defabbo had survived triple bypass surgery earlier in his life. As he was shuffled from Lakewood to Fairview in his latest health emergency, he and his wife wondered if he would survive the added stress that Lakewood’s now broken healthcare reality had brought them.

A majority vote against Issue 64 in Tuesday’s election will reject the ordinance that closed Lakewood Hospital, and restore Lakewood’s rights to over $100 million in cash and hospital assets. Many in Lakewood are coming to the realization that their “emergency department” is little more than an urgent care center at a much higher price.

For interviews with the Defabbos as well as other questions and comments, our contact information is below.

For a related story about a stroke victim’s delayed treatment that may have seriously comprised recovery, follow this link.

Download this story as a Microsoft Word file.

Kevin Young
Media Relations
Save Lakewood Hospital
216-344-0743

Stroke Victim’s Travails Expose Broken Promises of Quality Health Care

For Immediate Release —

When Marjorie Harris suffered a stroke early one morning at her home in Lakewood, what followed laid bare serious flaws in promises made to Lakewood residents. These promises were meant to convince residents that even though Lakewood Hospital is closed, this community would receive the same world class care as before.

One of these promises was made when City Council President Sam O’Leary said a mobile stroke unit operated by the Cleveland Clinic would provide “21st century life-saving care at your doorstep.” But the mobile unit never showed at Ms. Harris’s doorstep.  The unit covers 10 cities and was no doubt too distant and too occupied to be of assistance.

With no mobile stroke unit available, Ms. Harris was taken to Fairview Hospital in an EMS vehicle.  According to its website, Fairview has a special certification as a “Primary Stroke Center.” It promises a medical team that will deliver “comprehensive care diagnosing and treating patients quickly and significantly improving health and recovery.”

But when Ms. Harris arrived at Fairview, there was no neurosurgeon on hand to perform the critical procedure needed to ensure full recovery and, potentially, simply to save her life.  The only option was to life-flight her to the Clinic’s main campus on Cleveland’s east side.  As she was being life-flighted, her husband faced an hour-long drive in rush hour traffic from Fairview to the Main Campus.  Upon his arrival, Mr. Harris found that surgeons were still waiting for his signature to begin the need operation.  According to Mr. Harris, his wife’s stroke symptoms started at 6:30 AM.  He estimates that she went into surgery at 10:30 AM.

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Clinic May Owe Lakewood $278 Million if Majority Votes Against Issue 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.

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Deal to Close Lakewood Hospital Shorts Taxpayers by $278 Million

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.

Clinic liability $278 million
Cleveland Clinic document obtained in legal discovery process

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

A great city set to reject a bad deal in November

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.

  1. An offer from MetroHealth to operate Lakewood’s hospital was hidden from voters. It was only after public records request were made that it was uncovered.
  2. Revelations of improper bid-steering, that gave The Cleveland Clinic an inside track to build a much smaller “Family Health Center” and abandon the hospital, while blocking all competitive operators who could have kept the hospital open.
  3. In a move that limits health care options and increases prices for Lakewood residents, city officials negotiated a restrictive covenant, keeping other health care operators out of the now empty Lakewood Hospital while the Clinic operates its “Family Health Center” across the street.
  4. With 10 years left on the lease, Lakewood released the Clinic of its obligation to operate the hospital, effectively torpedoing over one thousand jobs averaging $59,000 a year. What community leader would close a city’s largest employer? It defies rational explanation.
  5. Why did public servants allow the Clinic to mismanage the hospital and strip it of profitable, life-saving services.

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.

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Health Care Crisis Continues; Rally Scheduled

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.

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New Filing at FTC Raises More Questions about Clinic Conduct

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:

  1. There is no evidence that a mandatory filing was made regarding the Clinic’s Lakewood transaction.  Across America, larger hospital systems have been taking over smaller health care systems, flying under the regulatory radar of the FTC through various maneuvers of questionable legality. Kucinich pointed out that the asset value of Lakewood Hospital is at least $120 million; a consultant valued the hospital at $70 million, and an associated investment pool at $50 million.  “Even viewing the transaction as the wind-down of a collaboration, such as a joint-venture, it still should have been reviewed under the H-S-R Act, because of the value of the assets involved in the deal,” Kucinich wrote.
  2. Kucinich raises the question as to whether the Clinic sought to avoid a filing under Hart-Scott-Rodino, in order to avoid FTC scrutiny of the Clinic’s market concentration in the greater Cleveland area, through a review known at the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. “If H-S-R filings, though required, are simply not made, regulators lack sufficient information to prompt a Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (‘HHI’) review to determine market concentration.”
  3. Kucinich raised questions of improper bidding procedures.  “There is reason to believe, based upon documentary evidence, that the transaction which led to the closing of Lakewood Hospital was steered to Cleveland Clinic by virtue of that party’s active participation in the development of the offering process; and that during the offering process Clinic employees, or trustees had access to review offers of its competitors.”  Kucinich submitted documentary evidence of the efforts of a second bidder.

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

Related documents: Letter to FTC, supporting documents, news release.

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Lakewood’s Health Care Crisis—Debate Rages on

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.”

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/03/should-you-visit-the-emergency-department-urgent-care-or-express-care/

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.

Get your loved one to the nearest hospital.
Screen capture taken March 24, 2016.

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The State of the Community

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

Committee to Protest at Cosgrove Speech, Mayor Summers Speech

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.

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Obstructionist Council Blows Opportunity to End Public Strife with March Vote

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

High Tide Moment at Special Council Meeting Tonight – Citizens Rally in Front of City Hall

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.

Download as a Microsoft Word file.

For questions and comments, our contact information is below.

Save Lives, Save Jobs, Save Lakewood, Save Lakewood Hospital.

Thank You,

Kevin Young
Media Relations
Save Lakewood Hospital Committee
216-344-0743

Hospital Issue Will Be On 2016 Ballot – But When?

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.

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Unsure, Lakewood Council Procrastinates While Deadline Looms

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.”

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Hospital Referendum Process Continues

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.

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Lakewood Hospital Issue Can Make March Ballot

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.

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Referendum petition delivery and press event

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.

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Save Lakewood Hospital campaign continues

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.

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