State Senator blasts Lakewood Hospital closure plan

Lakewood Democrat Michael Skindell said the hospital’s closure would hurt the city’s economy and residents’ health care.

He said city officials on the hospital’s governing board failed to defend public interests when they signed onto the closure plan.

Lakewood Hospital is owned by the city but managed by the Cleveland Clinic. Skindell accused the Clinic of violating its contract in recent years by shedding services in Lakewood while investing elsewhere.

"Those people charged to oversee this lease agreement were not keeping their eye on the ball," he said.

Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers contended national health care trends are to blame for Lakewood Hospital’s financial struggles. He said the closure plan gives the city some leverage in negotiating what comes next - as part of the plan, the Clinic has proposed a new outpatient center.

"The choice really is: we invest in a future that makes sense, that meets the needs of our citizens and is financially viable," Summers said, "or we let the hospital go out of business and we have an empty hospital sitting in the middle of Lakewood, with no capacity to address it, no partner in sight."

Lakewood’s City Council will have to approve the agreement.

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