Future plans for Lakewood Hospital meeting mixed reviews
LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - A new agreement that would provide healthcare in Lakewood for years to come has been announced.
Attorneys representing the Cleveland Clinic, Lakewood Hospital Association and Lakewood City Council and Administration worked through the weekend and into Monday to come to a new agreement that would keep the hospital open.
On the city's website, Lakewood officials announced that the agreement "involves a multi-million dollar investment in Lakewood that transitions health care delivery from a 'sick care' hospital inpatient model to an innovative, contemporary and sustainable outpatient health and wellness approach. Along with a 24/7/365 emergency department, the health care needs of the Lakewood community will be met."
Before the public was given a look at the new deal, the basics were laid out for the media.
Lakewood Hospital will close. The Cleveland Clinic will build a $34 million Wellness Center and 24 hour ER. The Clinic will also give $7 million to the city to redevelop, or tear down the current hospital that will be vacated.
OTHER AGREEMENT HIGHLIGHTS:
- More personalized, responsive care and services for residents based on comprehensive research into community health needs
- Location of a modern family health center that creates more value for the downtown district and increases economic development
- Continued access to emergency services in a fully staffed emergency department open 24/7/365
- Creates a unique community health foundation forging a long-term partnership of elected officials, civic leaders, health care providers and others to ensure appropriate and innovative health services
- Holds health care providers accountable for effective programs that improve patient outcomes
- More flexibility in the use of community assets, with increased opportunity to develop city-owned property.
- The promise of a vibrant new downtown district to attract employers
- Meets the special needs of the community’s diverse population
- Reassurances for current employees of Lakewood Hospital
During the presentation of the new deal, a number of Lakewood's city council members said this is not the perfect plan, but they all agreed it is better than the Clinic leaving altogether.
"The city conceded on some points, the Cleveland Clinic conceded on some points. For example the Clinic now bears the financial risk for the transition from Lakewood Hospital to a family health center, and emergency room. This is considerable," said Councilman David Anderson.
Initial reaction to the plan by the group "Save Lakewood Hospital" was not positive.
"They just ignored us. They totally ignored us. It's why we had to file a $400 million lawsuit in common pleas court," said Tom Monahan with Save Lakewood Hospital.
Those against the deal feel it is about money and letting the Clinic turn its back on an agreement that lasts through 2026.
City Council President Mary Louise Madigan disagrees.
In a statement released by the city, Madigan said the deal will be good for many generations.
"We've done our homework. We've gathered all the facts. We've heard from the residents we represent. Council was given the opportunity and responsibility to make the best decision possible to ensure the health of our community today and for generations to come. We are ready to make our recommendation and explain to the public why we support this agreement," Madigan said.
"It is our hope to have an agreement in place by the end of 2015, so that we can launch innovative programs and services in 2016," said Madigan. "Of course, there will be a transition period during which a number of services will be phased out. We can look forward to the future delivery of services in new and different ways. What's most exciting about this is the opportunity to create a community health foundation that can create a vision for health care that is unique to this community. That could involve grants, research, advocacy and support of health and wellness services that will make Lakewood one of the healthiest cities in the nation."
The Cleveland Clinic also released a statement about the plan:
"Cleveland Clinic remains committed to providing healthcare for the Lakewood community for the long-term. We respect the thoughtful process Lakewood City Council has taken in determining the best sustainable healthcare for its citizens and appreciate their dedication."
Lakewood City Council members approved the new after its first reading Monday night.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. in front of Judge John O'Donnell who will determine whether a lawsuit brought by community members to stop all of this will be allowed to continue.
Mayor Michael Summers told our Dan DeRoos that the roll-out of the new deal was coincidental with Tuesday's hearing.
The deal must have two more readings before the council can vote on it.
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