Alternatives to downsizing Lakewood health care are real, and ready to invest.
A proposal by MetroHealth called for investing $100,000,000 in renovating Lakewood Hospital, and would have kept hundreds of jobs in Lakewood that have vanished under the Cleveland Clinic’s management. Clinic-appointed trustees filed that proposal away, but an ongoing lawsuit uncovered it afterward.
MetroHealth’s proposal is a clear indicator of health care systems’ interest in Lakewood’s market. Surgical Development Partners has also demonstrated readiness to invest in Lakewood; in late 2015, it made an initial offer for Lakewood Hospital’s Columbia Road property that was $1 million greater than the Clinic’s final offer. As recently as this March, a representative of Surgical Development Partners affirmed on record that SDP will submit a bid to operate Lakewood Hospital as an inpatient facility if given the opportunity.
None of this should be surprising. Besides the many signs of Lakewood’s potential all around us, Lakewood Hospital was consistently profitable, even after “administrative expenses” imposed by the Cleveland Clinic rose more than 700%. The hospital only showed a loss, at last, in 2015 as the Clinic removed services and literally drove patients away.
Given the persistent interest in Lakewood Hospital even when city officials have barred the door shut, we should never doubt that the opportunities for Lakewood are enormous. We can reopen that door in November, and reject a plan suited for a city in decline. Repeal the deal.