Skindell Fights To Save Lakewood Hospital

The central issue of the 2015 campaign for mayor is the future of Lakewood Hospital. For Mayor Summers, seeing through his plan to close Lakewood Hospital was a driving force in his decision to run for re-election. I disagree that closing Lakewood Hospital is the solution. I am running for mayor to fight for Lakewood Hospital. 
Although the Cleveland Clinic has been diverting patients and assets, resulting in declining patient volume and revenues, it is not too late.  Huron Consulting Group, hired as the health care expert by City Council, opined in their August 14, 2015 report that saving Lakewood Hospital is a viable plan. They concluded that a population the size of Lakewood has the ability to support an acute care hospital. Huron outlined action to put Lakewood Hospital on the right path. 
With the right leadership, our hospital can be turned around and set on a path for it to remain as the health care provider of our citizens and the economic engine of our community. Here is the plan:
Enforce the Contracts to Operate the Hospital
The city of Lakewood owns Lakewood Hospital. Contracts require the operation of the hospital until the end of 2026, but are not being enforced. As mayor, I will take every legal and necessary action to ensure specific performance of the contracts. 
Remedy the Harm
The continued "wasting" or "decanting" of Lakewood Hospital is a result of City Hall's failure to enforce the contracts to operate the hospital. Services have been eliminated from the hospital and patients have been redirected.  As mayor, I will seek remedy for any breaches of the contracts to operate Lakewood Hospital.
Strong Oversight
The Lakewood Hospital Association has the responsibility under contract and law to oversee the operation of Lakewood Hospital for our benefit. This responsibility has not been fulfilled. As mayor, I will seek necessary changes to ensure a professional board and proper oversight of Lakewood Hospital.
Develop an Operational Plan
As mayor, I will seek a comprehensive assessment and detailed analysis of Lakewood Hospital, including an analysis of financials, labor utilization, organizational structure and department operations. An operational plan will be developed and implemented, paving the way for a healthy hospital. In a fair and open process, others will be invited to partner with Lakewood to operate the hospital.
Facility Upgrades
We all agree, for Lakewood Hospital to be successful, we must upgrade the facilities. Lakewood has done it in the past. It has been done with patient revenue bonds . . . not taxpayer dollars. We can do it again.
Open Process
I will use a collaborative strategy to form a roadmap for the long-term health of our hospital. This will involve residents of Lakewood and surrounding communities, other area hospitals, independent physicians, nurses and hospital staff. Broad community support will be sought to develop a hospital to meet the community health care needs of the future.

Michael Skindell

State Senator, Candidate for Lakewood Mayor

Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 11:29 AM, 09.29.2015