CLEVELAND, Ohio — A judge has rejected Bedford’s last-minute attempt to stop University Hospitals from closing a facility that has served its residents since 1928.
Late Thursday afternoon, the city filed a motion in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas seeking a restraining order to legally prevent UH from closing its Bedford Medical Center on Friday. Judge Steven Gall denied the motion.
Gall’s decision was not on the court docket Friday, and it’s unclear why he decided the way he did. But Bedford Mayor Stan Koci said the lawyer made the decision Thursday night.
Gall has scheduled a hearing for 1 p.m. Tuesday on the matter, although it is unclear what issues will be covered. Koci said he was disappointed with the decision.
“We will survive it, but there will be implications,” Koci said. “The city is losing a hospital that was with us for 100 years. This will add time to [emergency calls]; paramedics will have to drive further. This will harm nearby businesses.
In a statement Friday, City Manager Mike Mallis said, “We have had good faith talks with UH for over a year, and they have assured us that Bedford Hospital is not closing. . Once we learned of the closure, we asked them to reconsider or at least delay the closure.
“We had these discussions throughout August 8, when they abruptly pulled the plug at the last minute. We were working to try to resolve this issue amicably with UH before being forced to file a last minute motion with the court.
The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com contacted Gall’s office, as well as city attorneys.
In a statement, UH called the city’s legal effort “baseless.”
“The decision to move inpatient care and the emergency department from UH Bedford Medical Center was difficult and not taken lightly,” the hospital statement read. “But the direct result of this decision is higher quality care for the community, as UH is now able to use staff more effectively.
“[Emergency department] and inpatient services at UH Bedford Medical Center ceased today as scheduled and moved to nearby UH Ahuja (6.2 miles away). Bedford patients can still see their doctor for appointments at the medical office buildings.
UH announced last month that it planned to close the hospital in 30 days, citing lack of staff, particularly nurses, as the reason. The building will remain open for outpatient primary care and preventive medical services, but inpatient services will cease.
Along with announcing the closure of its Bedford facility, UH also announced that it would be closing its Richmond Heights hospital.
“Our hospitals in Bedford and Richmond Heights are among the smallest and least utilized in UH. Consolidating services to nearby sites allows us to staff more efficiently during this critical time,” Dr. Paul Hinchey, UH Acting Chief Operating Officer and President, UH Community Delivery Network told The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com in July.
Instead of departing services, UH plans to launch new programs and services focused on wellness and safety, maternal and child health, food security, and workforce development.
The city on Thursday filed a motion seeking the injunction that UH’s decision to close Bedford Hospital amounts to racial discrimination that will block or significantly limit the range of health care and medical services in urgently needed by the predominantly African-American populations of Bedford and its neighboring communities. .
The hospital opened in 1928 as Bedford City Hospital. It was renamed Community Hospital of Bedford in 1979. UH purchased it in 1993.
When the decision was announced, UH said no jobs would be lost. All of the more than 600 caregivers — 337 at UH Richmond Heights and 280 at UH Bedford — would be offered jobs at other UH facilities.