A Letter From A Lakewood Doctor

A store house of articles, facts and discussions related to the loss of Lakewood Hospital, LHA, LHF.

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Bill Call
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A Letter From A Lakewood Doctor

Postby Bill Call » Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:36 am

From a recent article:


"Is the city of Lakewood at risk of becoming a medical desert? After more than 30 year of residency and medical practice in Lakewood, I was interested in the comments by the elected leaders of our city regarding the impending closure of the acute care hospital beds at Lakewood Hospital ("Lakewood Hospital considers reducing beds," Sun Post-Herald, Jan.

This completes the process which began 15 years ago in which psychiatry, cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, oncology, invasive cardiology, electrophysiology, vascular surgery, pediatrics and trauma having been moved to other Cleveland Clinic hospitals. The expansion of obstetric beds, neurologic services and the construction of rehab beds elsewhere this year means these services will also be leaving. It is no wonder that the census of our hospital has declined since we no longer offer the services our community needs.

In addition, the decision by Dr. Loop more than 10 years ago to not assist the non-CCF independent physicians in their attempts to find replacements has largely led to the collapse of the core medical staff. Within five years, with Lakewood's progressively aging physician population, there will be almost no specialty physicians based in the city. The primary care physicians will be almost totally controlled by the CCF and will be referring our neighbors to remote facilities which are particularly difficult for the most disadvantaged to reach. Our failure was predictable when we agreed to a lease which could by fulfilled by an "urgicenter" rather than a full service medical facility.
It is unfortunate our politicians do not understand what the founders of Lakewood Hospital knew over 100 years ago. There is a contract between the people and the local government that requires us to look out for each other and care for our neighbors. Without the infrastructure of a community-owned hospital and a department of health (closed under Ed FitzGerald's administration), we will be unable to either monitor our health care needs or deliver care to those who are disadvantaged. We have essentially delegated our community responsibility to an outside entity which is outside our control and has no mandate to care for our people.

The Clinic is a private multi-specialty group practice wrapped in a nonprofit mantle envisioned by its founders to meet the economic and professional needs of those physicians and not the needs of the community. Their actions are not hostile but are predictable.

Crain's Cleveland Business has recently reported the top physician/executives are paid more than $1 million while Dr. Cosgrove makes more than $2 million. A recent Crain's article reports the Main Campus revenues are increasing by 7 percent while seven of the eight community hospitals in their network are showing negative growth, suggesting patients are shifted to the main campus by CCF corporate decisions.

The argument by the mayor and city council president that future health care will not by delivered to patients in hospital beds is obviously not held by the CCF as evidenced by their construction of a new acute care hospital in Avon which has less need than our older, denser and more disadvantaged citizens. The Avon hospital simply promises more opportunity for profit for the CCF.

The investment by our community over the last century is soon to be lost. Furthermore, the tax base represented by the largest employer in Lakewood is also about to be significantly curtailed such that our ability to pay for the social needs of our fellow citizens will be compromised at a time their need is greater.

The citizens and political leadership of Lakewood, at this point, cannot save Lakewood Hospital, but we can come together and redefine our commitment to each other and derive a process to move forward. We can no longer allow outside entities to define our city's needs. We must take responsibility and control our future. Our relationship with CCF has benefited them by giving them control of the local market. We need to diversify our healthcare resources to assure that we as a community are benefited and control our own fate."

I think people give up to easy.


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