City continues to challenge UH Medical Center closure

BEDFORD, Ohio (WJW) — The city of Bedford continued its fight in court against University Hospitals’ decision to shut down its emergency department and inpatient services at Bedford Medical Facility, effectively closing the community hospital on Friday.

On Tuesday, Judge Steven Gall of the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas suspended the legal proceedings, with the two sides expected to continue discussions next month.

The courtroom was packed with Bedford residents, community supporters, clergy and city officials.

“We don’t want to give up on the hospital…it’s a vital and important part of our community,” said Bedford Mayor Stan Koci. “We couldn’t just sit back and say, ‘Oh, okay, shut it up. It is too important not only for our city, but also for the surrounding communities.

The latest move comes after Bedford’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the hospital’s emergency room from closing was denied last week.

“He could have hit the hammer and we’re done, so we’re not doing that and we’re not going to give up the fight for all of our people,” Koci said.

University hospitals closed inpatient and emergency departments, citing staff shortages and saying they remained committed to residents. In July, the hospital announced that doctor’s offices would remain open at both locations.

Last week, Bedford officials filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, alleging discrimination and violation of residents’ civil rights.

A copy of the letter shared with FOX 8 stated, “Bedford, Bedford Heights and Maple Heights are communities in which the majority of the populations are African American, economically disadvantaged and on Medicaid. His decision to close the hospital based on these demographics is discrimination in its finest form. »

Some residents said the closure would limit their access to health care.

“It’s really convenient for me. When I don’t have transport, I can walk to the hospital,” said resident Bertha Lynn.

In the complaint, Bedford called for an investigation into the decision to close the hospital in addition to asking that the emergency department remain open.

“We are very pleased with today’s outcome and I think we look forward to sitting down at the table for real discussions with the UH representative, with the UH decision makers. That has been our intention from the beginning” , said Bedford Town Manager Mike Mallis.