Cleveland sues to keep E. Cleveland's Huron Hospital open

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Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove announced in early June the hospital serving East Cleveland and Cleveland residents would close. Over the last two weeks East Cleveland mayor Gary Norton has been hammering out a settlement with Clinic officials in which the Clinic will, among other things, pay East Cleveland 8 million dollars over the course of five years to compensate for the economic loss the city will suffer.

Norton says had an agreement not been reached, the fallback was to pursue legal action against the clinic to stave off the devastating consequence that can follow when a hospital closes.

NORTON: “The community is often left with a vacant building that grows high weeds, has windows broken out and a source of revenue that is just lost. But by working together we wanted to show that if we work in a new way, doing something different and talking instead of pointing fingers at each other, that we might be able to accomplish something that mitigates the loss.”

In addition to the payment, Cleveland Clinic will either find another commercial use for the building, or foot the $10 million to $15 million cost of demolishing it and turn the vacant land over to East Cleveland. The land donation would be part of an additional $2 million in in-kind support to the city, including demolition of some vacant homes around the property.

While East Cleveland is satisfied with the settlement, the city of Cleveland is not, and it’s suing the Clinic to block the closure of Huron. At issue is the hospital’s trauma center, which Cleveland officials say is a critical piece of the emergency services infrastructure serving the city’s east side. EMS Commissioner Edward Eckhart says its loss disrupts emergency response throughout the city.

ECKART: “The result of the loss of trauma service at Huron and the resulting closure of Huron has resulted in increased EMS response times to all 911 calls, to every neighborhood in the City of Cleveland; it’s resulted in fire first responder units being tied up in excess of 30 to 45 minutes throughout the city while they are waiting for EMS ambulances to arrive to transport patients.”

Law Director Robert Triozzi says the city wants the hospital to stay open until the Clinic can find another way to treat trauma patients on the east side.

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