Citizens Question Lakewood Hospital Proposal At Community Forum
Despite being a cold, blustery night, Lakewoodites packed all 488 of the Mackey Main Stage seats (plus those of us standing in the back) at Beck Center for the Arts on January 28th. This was the first in a series of public forums regarding the announcement earlier this month that Lakewood Hospital will be converted from a full service hospital as it stands today to an outpatient community wellness center model. About the first 90 minutes of the forum included presentations by representatives from the City of Lakewood, namely Mayor Summers, the Cleveland Clinic, the Lakewood Hospital Association, the Lakewood Hospital Foundation, and the consulting firm retained by the Lakewood Hospital Association, i.e. Subsidium Healthcare.
Lisa Fry, of Subsidium Healthcare, presented a sampling of the results of the study performed over the course of the past two years. She walked the audience through the process starting from when LHA hired her firm, up through the proposed letter of intent that caused such a stir earlier in January. Her firm used analyses to vet a wide range of possible solutions to the issues facing Lakewood Hospital, from sticking with the status quo to a downsized general hospital to a specialty hospital to a hybrid outpatient hospital with some inpatient beds to a strictly outpatient campus, to removing ourselves from healthcare altogether. Fry indicated that along the way they approached a total of 9 hospital systems, 2 local and 7 national. Despite some initial interest in the Lakewood Hospital location, in the end all parties pulled out, except the Cleveland Clinic. Although Fry’s entire PowerPoint study was not yet made available to the public, the Lakewood City Council has been given a copy of 80-some slides to aide in their decision.
Following the presentations, audience comments were welcomed. For just short of two more hours, taking the forum late into the night, the citizens engaged in question and answer sessions with the various representatives on stage, told personal stories of their own connections with Lakewood Hospital to the whole audience, and let their opinions be known. From detailed financial questions, such as those offered up by Ward 2 Councilman Sam O’Leary, to heartfelt sagas of life saving encounters of loved ones at Lakewood Hospital, the community is clearly highly engaged on this issue.
At this time, the decision to enter into the new agreement with the Cleveland Clinic per the proposed letter of intent lies solely with the members of Lakewood City Council. Without their approval, the Mayor cannot enter into any agreements on this matter.
To see the full video of the January 28th forum, visit www.onelakewood.com. To get your voice on the matter heard, write to your councilperson and Mayor Summers, attend the next community forum on February 11th, or join in the conversation with the LO on the Observation Deck or by submitting an article online to our Member Center!