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Huron Hospital To End Operations Within 90 Days

Cleveland Clinic To Open New Outpatient Community Health Center Oct. 3

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cleveland Clinic’s Board of Directors announced today that it will end operations at Huron Hospital within 90 days. After an extensive evaluation of data and ongoing efforts to preserve the hospital, a special committee of Cleveland Clinic’s Board of Directors and hospital leadership concluded that Huron Hospital is not sustainable for a long-term future.

Cleveland Clinic will continue to provide outpatient care at the hospital until the new Cleveland Clinic Huron Community Health Center opens Oct. 3 on the hospital’s campus. This center is better designed to meet the community’s changing health needs. Cleveland Clinic will offer round-trip transportation services from the Huron campus to Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, as well as Euclid, South Pointe and Hillcrest hospitals. Cleveland Clinic will also provide ongoing communication to patients, and hold community information meetings on access to care in the future.

As one of Cleveland’s first hospitals, Huron Hospital has a 137-year history of serving patients, educating physicians and driving innovation. Over the years, however, many factors negatively impacted this once-thriving hospital, including a steady decline in patient use, a rapidly shrinking population, costly maintenance of the hospital’s aging facilities, and substantial fixed costs that were much higher than the hospital could maintain.

“This is a difficult day for Cleveland Clinic, but we are firmly committed to caring for this community and supporting our employees affected by this decision,” said Delos M. Cosgrove, MD, Chief Executive Officer and President of Cleveland Clinic. “We are facing challenges in healthcare today never seen before, including a dramatic shift toward outpatient care, a difficult economy, a declining population, and the uncertainty of healthcare reform. These challenges require us to adapt to best meet the needs of our patients. Our investment in the new Huron Community Health Center and our work to regionalize trauma will allow us to have more of an impact on the community’s health.”

The new Cleveland Clinic Huron Community Health Center will continue Huron Hospital’s dedication to preventive care and chronic disease management, which is a critical need in East Cleveland and its surrounding area. Due to Huron Hospital’s successful chronic disease management practices, 37 percent of all hospitalized patients in 2009 had a first or secondary diagnosis of diabetes, down from a high of 57 percent five years earlier. It is one of 30 hospitals in the nation to receive certification from The Joint Commission as an inpatient diabetes center.

“Through better management of chronic disease and less dependence on emergency care and hospital stays, the East Cleveland community now has a greater need for a health center than a hospital. Today, healthcare is delivered largely on an outpatient basis. A community of this size – located within three miles of two major hospitals – can no longer sustain, nor is there a need for, its own hospital,” said Gus Kious, MD, President of Huron Hospital. “I have been humbled by the talented and caring group of individuals who have dedicated their careers to the residents of East Cleveland and the patients of Huron Hospital.”

Cleveland Clinic is putting several initiatives into place:

  • Care will continue for East Cleveland and surrounding communities. Outpatient care will be offered at the new Cleveland Clinic Huron Community Health Center, which opens Oct. 3. For specialty care or hospitalization, patients are welcome at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, as well as Euclid, South Pointe and Hillcrest hospitals or elsewhere within the Cleveland Clinic health system.
  • Cleveland Clinic will provide direct, round-trip shuttle service from the Huron campus to main campus, Euclid, South Pointe and Hillcrest hospitals after the hospital closes.
  • Patients will get the care they need in the Cleveland Clinic health system and return to the Huron Community Health Center for continual care and follow-up close to home, which is made possible through a unified electronic medical record and care coordination in the Patient Navigation office.
  • Huron Hospital has approximately 850 employees and Cleveland Clinic plans to actively recruit them and offer job opportunities for everyone who wants to stay within the health system.

By working with colleagues in the Northern Ohio Trauma System (NOTS), the City of East Cleveland and the City of Cleveland Emergency Medical System (EMS), trauma care has been regionalized and is coordinated by MetroHealth. Trauma needs will continue to be met at the following hospitals: MetroHealth, a Level I Trauma Center; Cleveland Clinic’s Fairview and Hillcrest hospitals, both Level II Trauma Centers; University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center for children; and several Level III trauma centers throughout the area.

“Huron Hospital has given a diverse group of physicians, nurses and employees the opportunity to do great things, and what we’ve accomplished for a socioeconomically challenged patient population will be carried on,” Dr. Kious said. “The dedication of our people has never wavered, but we can no longer stand up against external forces that will begin to challenge our ability to provide quality care.”

Some of the key factors that led to the board’s decision:

  • Only 17 percent of patients from Huron Hospital’s primary market went to Huron for key inpatient services, including heart care, oncology and pulmonology, in the first half of 2010. The vast majority of patients (83 percent) are already choosing other hospitals, with the largest number (35 percent) going elsewhere in the Cleveland Clinic health system. Further, only 38 percent of East Cleveland patients use Huron Hospital for inpatient services. Declining patient volume creates potential challenges to maintaining quality and patient safety.
  • There’s been a 10 percent decrease in discharges since 2003, and a 16 percent decrease in surgical procedures. Huron Hospital currently has less than 100 patients a day and less than 60 percent of the 185 staffed beds are occupied. The decline has accelerated this year with some units closed temporarily; on some days the hospital has held as few as 47 inpatients.
  • The population in East Cleveland has declined 34 percent (from 27,217 to 17,843 residents) since 2000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
  • Huron Hospital’s facilities are aging and have required extensive resources over the years. The hospital has sustained continued financial losses and Cleveland Clinic anticipates losses at the new facility, as well.

Cleveland Clinic officials plan to reach out to City of East Cleveland officials in the near future to discuss transitional issues and to determine the future use of the property.

Cleveland's Huron Road Hospital was founded in 1856 and incorporated in 1874. It became a founding member of the Meridia Health System in 1984. In 1997, the Meridia Health System became part of the Cleveland Clinic health system.

Among its many accomplishments, Huron Hospital was the first community hospital in the Cleveland Clinic health system to fully implement electronic medical records. Huron Hospital has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for success in saving lives by increasing organ donation rates.

Cleveland Clinic is Northeast Ohio’s largest employer supporting more than 58,000 households. It’s the second largest employer in the state, supporting more than 81,000 direct and indirect jobs in Ohio in 2009, generating more than $3.9 billion in total earnings.

Cleveland Clinic spurred nearly $10.5 billion of the total economic activity in Ohio in 2009. Its community benefit contribution in 2010 totaled $537.4 million, including $149.8 million in charity care.

Huron Hospital patients can get more information at 216-761-2955. Information also is available at www.huronhospital.org.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic health system includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, nine community hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 155,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries.