Lakewood and Cleveland Clinic Move to Close Hospital, Open Health Center
by Nick Castele
The agreement to close Lakewood Hospital now has the approval of the city council. Next, the city and the Cleveland Clinic will be replacing the facility with a health center.
The $34 million center will house a pharmacy and a 24/7 emergency room. Dr. J. Stephen Jones is president of regional hospitals and family health centers at the Cleveland Clinic.
“The family health center will have a number of programs, both traditional and innovative, to provide the type of care—most of the things they need, so primary care, pediatrics, certain specialties,” Jones said, “and what that will look like 10 years from now will be based on what the needs of the community are.”
By January, Jones said, the Clinic will have a formal plan to end inpatient services at the hospital. That means patients who need complex care, such as care requiring overnight stays or surgeries, could travel about three-and-a-half miles to Fairview Hospital in Cleveland.
According to the agreement, the city and the Clinic will work to help patients who need transportation.
A Clinic spokeswoman said it may be a couple of months before it’s known how many people will be employed at the new center. She said Lakewood Hospital currently employs around 860 people.
Kevin Young is with Save Lakewood Hospital, a group that’s been trying to keep the hospital open. He says the group will continue the fight, but it will be tough.
“We’re going to begin gathering petitions to go on the ballot in March,” Young said. “The other thing is the $400 million lawsuit is still in the courts.”
That suit was filed in May, and alleges the Clinic moved services elsewhere, making the hospital less viable, before announcing its closure.
Jones said that is not the case. The Clinic is fighting the suit in court.