Election Outcomes Don't Change Direction of Lakewood Hospital Issue; Mayor Looks Ahead

As one ardent supporter of Lakewood Hospital described the matter this summer, there was a political path toward saving the institution and a legal path.

The former took place last night during an election that set the status quo in stone for a few more years and decidedly did nothing to "save" the hospital as it functions presently. The latter involves a lawsuit against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, et al., and that's a whole different conversation.

For now, though, the re-election of Mayor Mike Summers and the rejection of Issue 64 (which would have triggered an automatic referendum if and when City Council decides to close Lakewood Hospital) both signal the population's willingness to entertain new ideas about health care in their city. 

Mayoral challenger and State Sen. Michael Skindell pretty much ran a single-issue campaign in an effort to save the hospital.

The mayoral race was settled 57-43. The charter amendment issue was shot down by 52-48.

"I'm very grateful to continue to be able to work on the issues facing the city of Lakewood for four more years. There are a lot of opportunities and we certainly have our fair share of challenges," Summers said on The Sound of Ideas this morning. "In terms of what the election means for the hospital, we've got to think and reflect on that...I interpret these results as the community wanting to move forward. We recognize that things are changing and we want to invest in a health care delivery system that will meet our needs and be financially viable."

As things stand now, Law Director Kevin Butler remains in negotiations with the Clinic's legal team and the Lakewood Hospital Association. City Council has the final say on the matter of whether hospital operations shut down, which would require at least five affirmative votes.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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