Hospital Vote Q&A at Lakewood Library 9/13

Lakewood’s main library is the place to get informed about the upcoming vote on Lakewood Hospital.

This November, local voters will make a choice for or against a city ordinance closing Lakewood’s publicly owned hospital. With early voting coming up even sooner, voters are invited to learn the details of this choice at a public Q&A, at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 13.

Everyone attending the free event can take home a voter guide with information from the Board of Elections. Along with the issue number for this vote, which the board will announce this month, the guide will include ballot language and important voting deadlines. Panelists at the event will talk about these basics as well, along with the facts and background of this big decision.

Following the brief presentation, panelists will take audience questions on any and all aspects of the pending vote. The evening’s panel will feature experienced representatives from law and government, including leaders of Save Lakewood Hospital.

Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young says that “This evening is local democracy at its simplest and best. Community leaders will sit down with neighbors, and discuss the issues and process of an important vote, face to face.”

The Sept. 13 event will take place at Lakewood’s main library, 15425 Detroit Avenue, in the first-floor multipurpose room. (The entrance to the multipurpose room is reached through the children’s department.) Advance registration is required as seating is limited, but all are encouraged to sign-up while spaces last by calling (216) 586-2401. There is no cost to register.

Glass walls alone don’t make for “state of the art”

In an older city like Lakewood, any new construction can appear to represent the future. Particularly if it’s a relatively recent architectural style in a city of traditional brick buildings, it’s easy to greet this as “progress.”

But glass and metal exteriors aren’t guarantees of good design, or of wise investment.

Glass wall construction isn’t actually new, even. The earliest prototype of “modern” glass buildings was San Francisco’s Hallidie Building—opened in 1918. Not exactly state of the art.

If this style is still newer than most Lakewood buildings’, that doesn’t mean it’s an advance. Professionals’ judgment of the glass wall concept is that it’s good for looking shiny and not for much else:

…designers appear to choose all-glass curtain walls or floor-to-ceiling strip windows because they make it easy to create a sleek impression while leaving all the tricky details in the hands of the manufacturers. (buildingscience.com)

One developer calls glass-walled condos “throw-away buildings” because of their short lifespan relative to buildings with walls made of concrete or brick. (Canadian Broadcasting story)

The mundane realities of metal and glass architecture encapsulate the larger deal that’s up for a vote this November: it only resembles “the future” in the sense that it’s something new, and shiny.

Beneath the surface, the proposed health center is just a medical office building. Nothing state of the art about that. Nor is there much progress in sending away jobs and economic strength. The “freestanding emergency room” concept is new-ish; there were “only” 146 of them in the United States 11 years ago. But they aren’t replacing hospitals yet, as the new hospital in Avon reminds anyone paying attention.

Sustaining Lakewood’s progress depends on knowing the difference between real assets and valuable services, and fake progress in a shiny package. We can help clear up which is which by voting against an imitation-progress deal in November.

Forum at Madison Ave Library, Sunday 8/21

Save Lakewood Hospital is sponsoring another free public forum on healthcare and the future of our hospital this Sunday, August 21.

Once again, Lakewoodites are invited to hear an independent doctor’s perspective, as well as that of experts in law and finance. After a brief opening presentation, panelists will open the floor for questions.

The forum starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, in the auditorium at the Madison branch library (13229 Madison Ave). Registration is free but please call in advance: 216-586-2401.

Invest Lakewood’s prosperity, don’t flush it

The sense of prosperity and renewal in Lakewood right now represents a real opportunity. We have a uniquely vibrant city, which has weathered some tough challenges, and a chance to position our community for long-term success.

But only if we evaluate our choices realistically, and recognize when a pet project turns into a boondoggle. The project to turn Lakewood’s publicly owned hospital into a private health center is already running to hundreds of millions of dollars, and years away from its proposed completion. The costs to our community keep climbing:

Lakewood’s entire annual budget is barely $120 million. Our community has already spent far too much on the Cleveland Clinic and its health center plan—a plan which will leave Lakewood with fewer jobs, fewer services, and less power over our own health care.

At a time when Lakewood is enjoying a renaissance on so many fronts, we could be attracting investment from the Clinic’s competitors, and reserving our own resources for other needed improvements. It’s time to say “no more” to the no-bid health center deal, before the price grows even larger. This November we should vote against the deal.

Open Forum with Local Doctors, July 26

Local doctors will answer questions about the future of Lakewood healthcare next Tuesday evening, at a free public forum on July 26 hosted by Save Lakewood Hospital.

Young and old are invited to share in a discussion of the choices offered by an autumn referendum on the controversial deal to close Lakewood Hospital, along with related issues.

“This forum is a chance to hear from independent doctors about our options, at this point, for securing our community’s long-term access to healthcare,” said Save Lakewood Hospital spokesman Kevin Young.

“Our panelists aren’t on a private payroll,” Young said, “and they’re free to answer audience questions about these challenges honestly. This will be a spin-free, straight talk discussion tethered to the real needs of our citizens rather than to big-money interest groups.”

The planned panel includes Dr. Terry Kilroy, a Lakewood pulmonologist with nearly four decades’ experience in critical medicine, and Dr. Ashoka Nautiyal, another local independent practitioner. The doctors will be joined by professionals in law and finance, and co-chairs of the Save Lakewood Hospital committee local CPA Marguerite Harkness and Tom Monahan.

The forum is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., July 26 in the lower-level meeting room (Mr. Winton’s Den) at Winton Place, 12700 Lake Avenue. Advance registration is required as seating is limited, but all are encouraged to sign-up while spaces last by calling (216) 586-2401. There is no cost to register.

Happy Fourth of July!

Every year, Lakewood’s Independence Day parade features people and groups coming together to celebrate our nation and our city. Save Lakewood Hospital is proud to be among them in 2016!

The July 4 celebration of our community is, appropriately, the official launch of stronglakewood.com: a new web site about the great potential of Lakewood, and the opportunity to surmount a major obstacle to that potential this November. By voting against a bad deal to close our hospital, all of us can help keep Lakewood strong for generations to come.

Thanks for visiting, stay in touch and have a glorious fourth!

City Councilman protests Cleveland Clinic tactics

Save Lakewood Hospital continues its mission to research and share information about the negative impact of surrendering a valuable community hospital. As reported at cleveland.com, Cleveland’s Ward 8 Councilman Michael Polensek condemned a Clinic plan to remove a rehabilitation unit from Euclid Hospital:

“They move the rehab unit out and you might as well kiss that place goodbye,” Polensek said Wednesday. “We can’t let them do to Euclid what they did to Lakewood and East Cleveland. What’s happening here is outrageous, and they wonder why the average citizen is so angry with the corporate elite.”

…Polensek said the move is taken from a Cleveland Clinic playbook to remove services from facilities that it wants to close or reduce in size. He wrote a letter to Pamela Holmes, a senior government relations executive with the Clinic, protesting the move.

“The Clinic moves out services and health care related programs and then indicates sometime later to the community that the institution is losing money and/or patients or is in poor condition,” Polensek wrote in the letter, adding: “Then it is only a matter of time before the hospital closes and they serve us up some reduced health care facility with some deceased former officials name on it, which is nowhere near the services once being offered by a full service hospital.”

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