Once Upon A Time Lakewood Government Actually Did Care About Providing Health Care For The Less Fortunate Among Us

By 1986 the City of Lakewood had long owned and operated Lakewood Hospital. It was managed by an eighteen-member Board of Trustees. The Board was headed by the City’s Mayor who served as its President. The City’s Health Director and the Chairman of City Council’s Hospital Committee were also members of the Board. The other fifteen members were appointed by the Mayor with the approval of City Council. At least eight of those fifteen members were required to be resident electors of the City of Lakewood.

Then on June 26, 1987 the City entered into a longterm lease agreement with Lakewood Hospital Association, a non-profit corporation created for that specific purpose, that took control of the operation of the hospital. Later on, an amendment to that lease was made on December 23, 1996 that included the requirement for the hospital “to provide residents of the City from facilities located within the City acute care medical/surgical services (including for children and adolescents), obstetrical/ gynecological services, 24 hour a day emergency room providing trauma services, intensive care services and rescue squad/paramedic services.” That provision required that for Lakewood residents’ medical services would be given “without regard to their ability to pay.”

Then, starting in 2015, came the mayor’s crooked rigged deal with the Cleveland Clinic  that makes no provision for indigent care for Lakewood residents. The mayor was not concerned that the Clinic deal shows no regard for the less fortunate among us by providing health care for the those unable to pay. Rather, what did concern the mayor was that the Master Plan with the Clinic include a provision that the hospital building could no longer be used as a hospital because he wanted to insure that the Clinic would make money from its facility built on the other side of Belle Avenue.  Wouldn’t a person think that a mayor would be more concerned with the less fortunate in his city by whom he is elected to serve rather than a rich corporation from another city? Especially when you consider the number of aged living on fixed incomes residing within walking distance of our stolen hospital. As far as the mayor is concerned, getting to a hospital facility outside the city limits is their problem.

While having concern that the Clinic make a profit, the Mayor Summers has made no provision for helping our citizens who are transported by Lakewood EMS to the alleged emergency room now on Belle Avenue only to find out that they really need an actual hospital emergency department. Such unfortunate citizens wind up incurring the expense of a second ambulance transport to an actual hospital outside the city to get the needed emergency care. That could cost $800.00 or more. When confronted with that issue during one of the rigged public indoctrination sessions to rationalize the unneeded closing of the City’s perfectly good and viable hospital, the mayor indicated that the City would help persons burdened with duplicate emergency transportation. Unfortunately, those poor citizens who got stuck with hundred of dollars in extra emergency transport costs would turn blue if they are holding their breath waiting for City help.

Edward Graham

Former Member Lakewood City Council

Volume 14, Issue 21, Posted 3:08 PM, 11.07.2018