Public gathers to learn more about the potential closing of Lakewood Hospital

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LAKEWOOD  - A large crowd packed the Beck Center in Lakewood Wednesday night to learn more about the potential closing of Lakewood Hospital.

The hospital has served the city for more than a century. But the Cleveland Clinic, which operates the hospital, wants to close it and replace it with a family health center and emergency room.

Lakewood Hospital would close in 2016 when a new hospital the Clinic is building in Avon is complete.

Many at the meeting wanted more specifics of the plan. One wondered, "If I wind up at Lakewood's emergency room and they decide I need in-patient care, who is paying for my transport? Who is paying for me to come home because I don't drive."

She was told that insurance would pay for an ambulance trip and that the City of Lakewood would explore ways to provide the trip home.

One person questioned the need to close Lakewood Hospital. "Why couldn't the hospital here be saved when there's maybe not as many people living in an area in Avon where there's an Elyria facility and St. John Westshore as well?" he asked.

He was told beds at Lakewood currently are underutilized and that the Clinic sees a need for more beds in Avon.

A group called "Save Lakewood Hospital" has been formed. There will be several more community forums before a final decision is made.

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