As a medical student in the 1990s, I remember one of the first times I walked into Summa Akron City Hospital. I was overwhelmed with the hallways being tremendously busy, and seeing teams of white coats rushing to wherever they were going. I also got a sense that the city and the community trusted this hospital to give them the care that the needed. I even did my Family Medicine Residency training at Summa Barberton Hospital (then known as Barberton Citizens Hospital), and I knew I was going to be receiving the training I needed to be a good doctor.
This past week, Summa Health is mired in controversy and in a public relations nightmare. The summary of the issues are well done by the following two blog posts in the past few days: "The Rape of Emergency Medicine, 2017 Version" by GruntDoc and "What we know about the Summa Health shake-up, and why this goes beyond the ER" from Rubber City Politics.
What is the big picture meaning for the Akron community? From what I've heard, the hospital across town, Akron General Medical Center (associated/owned by the Cleveland Clinic) is "packed to the gills" with the highest patient census "I've ever seen it." (quotes from a recent e-mail that was shared with me).
For the most part, the Emergency Room is the doorway into the hospital for patients, and for hospitals, the doorway into generating revenue for the institution. If the Akron community is sensing the uncertainty in Summa Health, with all of its infighting, will the community continue to come to the Summa ER?
No matter how this Summa Health situation ultimately plays out, its reputation has taken a major hit this week. When the fighting finally stops among all of the factions, there has to be some kind of healing of the hospital community, even before it can reach out to Akron to ask for their trust again. If the finger pointing, the negativity & vitriol, and the PR war continues, this may be the beginning of the end of another Akron iconic company...