CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW)– Employees of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center were welcomed by their counterparts from MetroHealth Medical Center to a career fair on Thursday.
They included Marcus Johnson, who has worked in housekeeping at St. Vincent for the past seven years.
“Good people there. You have your ups and your downs, but overall I liked it though because the whole atmosphere was inviting, you know what I mean? It was warm and you felt almost like family,” said Johnson, who tells FOX 8 he found out about St. Vincent’s decision in a phone call from his sister.
“We felt, first of all, saddened by the news that St. Vincent’s is going to be closing and really, as a community partner, wanted to offer our support to the employees there and opportunities for them to find something that might be a right fit for them,” said Dr. Julia Mason, the chief nursing officer for Metrohealth Inpatient Services.
“As the chief nursing officer, I’m always eager to find nurses and our clinical support staff, but our organization really focuses on the whole team that cares for the patient. Our environmental service workers, our transporters are in great demand. A phelbotimist laboratory radiology, the whole gamut of healthcare providers ,” said Mason.
The impact from St. Vincent’s announcement casts a wide net over the greater Cleveland area, worrying those in nearby communities who are concerned that they will now be underserved.
They include the clients of the Salvation Army’s Harbor House.
“Many of the people that we are called to serve at the Salvation Army do not access healthcare the way that you and I would do it and so it’s often times more of a crisis response than ongoing care at a regular provider. The thing that’s been really wonderful is St. Vincent’s location for our people to access. That has been just wonderful over the years,” said Beau Hill of the Salvation Army.
It was also met with concern from the Ohio Nurses Association.
In a news release, the association on Thursday said, “St. Vincent provides invaluable, and at times cost-free healthcare to some of Cleveland’s most vulnerable patients who would otherwise go without.”
The association also is concerned about the future of St. Vincent’s psychiatric emergency department, which they say is one of only five in the country.
It’s something the ONA says the nation needs more of, not less.
St. Vincent says the downsizing will become effective in the middle of November. Other area healthcare providers will have to take in the patients who St. Vincent has served for generations.
“We have a numerous amount of outpatient services. We have emergencies in four different neighborhoods, including our downtown main campus but also in Cleveland Heights, Parma Heights and in the Brecksville area. We are here for all of the communities and we will come to you if you can’t come to us through our telehealth programs. Reach out to us at MetroHealth and we will help you find the right provider and the right services that you need,” said Mason.