Neighbors and Ward 8 constituents - it's important to know what your council representative in up to and you may have read my recent comments in the Akron Beacon Journal regarding the proposed sale of Summa Health to the venture capital firm HATCo.  For those wishing to view my January 22 comments in their entirety, you can view them by watching the video of the Akron City Council meeting here (my comments begin minute 58:00). 

In short, I am deeply concerned by the proposed sale of our largest charity healthcare provider to a for-profit venture capital firm.  Healthcare in the United States is a mess, on that most Americans agree.  What we have largely failed to agree on is how to fix the twin problems of financial instability and growing health disparities (cost and quality/access).  The reason we have struggled to enact solutions is because we have yet to answer a fundamental moral question - is healthcare a public good or a market commodity? The rest of the western, developed world has largely answered that healthcare is a public good and have created some version of universal healthcare. In our beloved country we have taken the opposite approach, treating healthcare as a market commodity that can be bought and sold.  

As a non-profit healthcare system, Summa Health is caught in the middle of this mess.  There's no doubt their survival as an independent, locally-controlled entity is in jeopardy without a partnership that eases the financial stress of providing charity care as mandated by U.S. law for all non-profit systems.  However, turning for-profit and selling this community anchor to out-of-town private equity investors is not in the best interest of Ward 8 and greater Akron. 

Many have reached out to me in agreement. More so, they have ideas/questions/alternatives to pose to Summa Health.  One such resident is a Ward 8-born-and-raised Summa resident physician - Dr. Sterling Shriber - who has begun an online petition you can view here

I welcome your thoughts.  Please reach out to me and share your views on this important matter.