BG – What Lakewood’s Healthcare Promises Mean to Us: A Doctor’s View
Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:36 am
By Terence Kilroy, M.D.
(Moderator’s note: For this installment of “Bad Government,” we turn to the respected Lakewood physician Dr. Terence Kilroy for a doctor’s view of how the hospital deal will affect our healthcare. His conclusion: the proposed cure is worse than any supposed illness. The bad deal is also bad for our health. This originally appeared in the Lakewood Observer’s “The Truth About Issue 64” report on Oct. 25, 2016. Citizens will have their chance to vote on the ordinance which authorized the deal that closed Lakewood Hospital in a referendum on the November ballot. An "against" vote is to nullify the ordinance that passed last December. A "for" vote supports it.
To clarify: The byline at the top of this article defaults to the person who entered the copy. In this case, Dr. Terence Kilroy is the author of the article, while Dan Alaimo entered the story, provided some minor editing, as well as the summary information at the top. - D.A.)
About the author:
Dr. Terence Kilroy is a pulmonologist based in Lakewood with nearly four decades’ experience in critical medicine. His affiliations include Fairview Hospital and St. John Medical Center. He was formerly affiliated with Lakewood Hospital when it was open. Among his awards: Patients’ Choice Award, Compassionate Doctor Recognition, and On-Time Doctor Award.
• This plan does not expand coverage in our city since these professional resources already exist here. There is nothing new about it. We gain nothing.
• The primary purpose of “Free standing ERs” is to trap the patient into the healthcare system that owns the emergency department rather than to provide the healthcare needs of a community.
• There is nothing in the agreement that can compel the Cleveland Clinic Foundation to stay in our city despite everything we have handed to them.
• This is analogous to rural areas where Walmart came into a town, wiped out the mom-and-pop stores and then left to another location once they had control of the market.
• Citizens will no longer have the capacity to control the healthcare of our community.
The Promise: “A new modern healthcare facility”
What does this mean?
The plan is to consolidate the internal medicine group on Woodward, the family practice group from eastern Detroit Ave. and the outpatient Family Practice Residents (i.e. doctors in training) from Fairview Hospital into this building.
This does not expand coverage in our city since these professional resources already exist here. There is nothing new about it. We gain nothing.
The Promise: A Free-standing 24/7 Emergency Room
What does this mean?
A free-standing ER is staffed by 1 or 2 ER trained physicians and 1 or 2 physician assistants to see any and all manner of illnesses and injuries.
This arrangement has no immediate medical or surgical backup.
Major illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, ruptured blood vessels, shock, and gastrointestinal tears all require immediate treatment by medical and surgical specialists with the proper facilities such as a catheterization lab or an operative suite.
Our ER does not, and will not have those, as it is not connected to a hospital.
There is no way to safely “stabilize” these patients so they can wait for a transfer to a hospital.
It is not safe to transfer patients to other facilities when they are not stable.
Yet they will have to be transferred.
The longer there is a delay, the greater will be the mortality rate and permanent organ damage.
The primary purpose of “Free standing ERs” is to trap the patient into the healthcare system that owns the emergency department rather than to provide the healthcare needs of a community.
Consequently, when our citizens need admission they will be transferred to the nearest open Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) bed which may be the east side rather than the nearest open bed which may be St. John’s, Southwest, Parma or Metro.
The Promise: To protect Lakewood’s progress and the health of our citizens into the future
What does this mean?
We lose access to all the other health resources which could participate in our community.
Other providers know of the $80-90 million of hospital assets that the mayor and council have given to CCF with Issue 64.
They know that the city no longer controls significant cash assets to entice them to open facilities here.
They know of the restrictive covenant, negotiated by the mayor, that prevents Metro, UH or any other provider from using the residual hospital property.
Independent physicians, both primary care and specialists, are already leaving our community. They will not be replaced since there is no vehicle to support them.
Specialists will not come, since we do not have the local facilities contained in a hospital that they need to do their jobs. We will become a medical desert.
Additionally, there is nothing in the agreement that can compel the CCF to stay in our city despite everything we have handed to them.
This is analogous to rural areas where Walmart came into a town, wiped out the mom-and-pop stores and then left to another location once they had control of the market.
If we vote “For 64," we will become a “one horse” town in respect to healthcare.
Citizens will no longer have the capacity to control the healthcare of our community.