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It’s time for the community to think about Forum’s future



Published: Wed, July 8, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

It’s time for the community to think about Forum’s future

While we continue to hope that Forum Health can emerge from bankruptcy with its existing major assets intact, it is time for community leaders, especially those in Youngstown, to begin discussing contingency plans.

Northside Medical Center is a prime target of Forum’s creditors, who clearly want U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kay Woods to pressure Forum to abandon all or part of the facility, which provides inpatient, outpatient and emergency room services to thousands of patients.

It is the job of Forum’s management and board to protect an asset that is the product of more than a century of community support. But if that asset has become an unredeemable liability in the eyes of the bankruptcy court, the best of intentions of the hospital’s past benefactors may not be enough to save it.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, state Sens. Capri Cafaro, D-32nd, and Joseph Schiavone, D-33rd, state Reps. Robert F. Hagan, D-60th, and Ronald V. Gerberry, D-59th, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-17th, are the elected officials most directly responsible for the area that would be impacted by Northside’s closing in whole or in part. But the entire medical community, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, the Mahoning and Trumbull county commissioners, city councils, organized labor, social service, civic and religious organizations are all among those who have a place at the table.

Exploring the possibilities

They need, of course, to be talking about any ways in which they could help save Northside, but also what they can and will do if Northside is lost.

Ryan might explore whether the facilities would fit into President Barack Obama’s vision for community medical centers that are designed to shift the burden from emergency rooms to less costly alternatives. He might also see if the facilities could fit into the increasing need for Veterans Administration health care at a time when Vietnam era veterans are aging and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are returning home with horrendous visible injuries and concussive injuries that are more difficult to diagnose.

Obviously, the mayor and city council have a selfish interest in preserving Northside, which is located in the city but lies in Trumbull County, because of the economic effect, including the loss of income tax revenue from as many as 1,600 employees.

State senators and representatives obviously have their hands full with economic problems being worked on in Columbus, but those named above, as well as others in Trumbull County must know that Forum’s survival — Northside, Trumbull Memorial, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital and various subsidiaries — are of vital interest to the area’s economic health.

Of concern, too, would be the ability of St. Elizabeth Medical Center on Belmont Avenue to absorb an influx of inpatient and emergency room traffic if it were to become the only hospital left in the city limits.

An old English proverb suggests that we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Forum should get all of the support it needs from the community to stave off the creditors who are circling it with increasing hostility. At the same time, the community and its leaders dare not wait until court deadlines approach in mid-September to begin asking themselves what comes next if the creditors get their way.


Comments

1bcim(13 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

For years St.Elizabeth's emrgency room has been"full" & "diverting" ambulances to Northside's emergency room for care. Once the ER found out they had no type of insurance, they suddenly became "too full" and diverted those patients to Northsides E.R. who NEVER DENIED CARE TO ANYONE SICK and would have to "eat the bill" for that patient's care.This type of humane generoscity has finally caught up w/ Northside and the system is hemmorhaging money while the "HM...won't admit a patient without insurance but send them up the street.This is the Catholic/Cristian way of "helping" their fellow man: NO PAY..NO CARE-get them out. I have seen this pracctice of "turfing" patients to Northside & Southside Hospitals(when it was open)for over 20 years and it has got to stop. St.E's should do it's fair share for the indigent care but they are the valleys example of charity (only if it involves making the almighty dollar)..Barry Cimperman RN (ret.)

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2joebag09(230 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Let Northside close....let St. EZ be the primary caregiver in the area....... and then we'll all see what happens to the cost of doing business! St. EZ will charge what they want and what ever you're insurance doen't pay...you WILL be responsible for!! THINK ABOUT IT!!

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3kmm13(3 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Barry and Joe,,,,you're both idiots.

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4joebag09(230 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks.....kmm13....it's always nice to receive kudos from an intellectual such as yourself! You must be a college grad and hold a management position!

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