The Cleveland Clinic has mailed a postcard to Lakewood residents, digging in on misleading claims about its freestanding emergency department. No one should be fooled; the claim that Clinic physicians “skillfully treat… cardiac arrest and stroke” is still carefully separated from any promise that they do so in Lakewood. The don’t, and no one should turn to Lakewood’s ER for anything other than delays in real treatment for these conditions.
Meanwhile, this glossy advertisement makes another promise, less directly dangerous but even more plainly false: “In Lakewood. For Lakewood.” Really?
- The Cleveland Clinic pledged that, in return for permission to remove certain profitable service lines from Lakewood Hospital, it would “transform the hospital” extensively as part of a “vision for tomorrow.” Instead, the Clinic removed the services, then actually reduced capital spending on Lakewood Hospital below even the minimum required for its maintenance.
- Subsequently, the Cleveland Clinic drove away independent doctors and even patients from Lakewood Hospital, while privately drawing up plans to dissolve the hospital itself, which it had agreed to run through 2026.
- Even while reducing activity at Lakewood Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic raised “administrative service” fees imposed on the hospital from $2.4 million per year to ten times that much, all without explanation.
- Having done all this, the Cleveland Clinic then claimed that Lakewood Hospital was financially unsustainable, and lobbied city officials to hand over its assets in return for a a much smaller health center which the Clinic will own.
- As part of the deal which emerged, the Cleveland Clinic took over Lakewood Hospital’s Columbia Road facility for one million dollars less than another hospital operator attempted to offer.
The Cleveland Clinic, plainly and simply, ran down Lakewood Hospital without any serious attempt to grow its place in the market—despite a lease requirement that it return the hospital as a going concern.
Where, after all, were the postcards and newspaper ads and PR tours and radio and TV ads when the Clinic was supposedly powerless to keep the hospital in business?
In return for overlooking all of this, city officials obtained a deal offering fewer services, fewer jobs, less local control over health care… and a free magnet. That isn’t in any way “for Lakewood,” and neither is the Cleveland Clinic.
We should vote against their deal in November.