What Trump and Biden Should Debate at the Cleveland Clinic: Why the Hospital’s Private Police Mostly Arrest Black People

“Just as the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted racial inequities in law enforcement, so the lopsided toll of Black victims in the pandemic has revealed them in health care. Hospital policing is where these two disparities collide. Cleveland’s prestigious hospitals, which mainly employ and treat whites, are surrounded by low-income Black neighborhoods with some of the worst health outcomes in Ohio, including lower life expectancy and high rates of asthma, diabetes and infant mortality.

Hospitals have replaced the factories and plants of a faded industrial era as the most important economic engine in northeast Ohio. The clinic [Cleveland Clinic] surpassed Walmart last year to become Ohio’s largest employer, with more than 50,000 employees. It is consistently ranked as one of the top three hospital systems in the country in both quality of care and size.

[..] Revenues for the clinic system [Cleveland Clinic], which also includes hospitals in two other states and three countries, were just over $10 billion in 2019. The presidential debate will take place in the Samson Pavilion, which features a massive steel roof and soaring 80-foot-high indoor courtyard. It’s the centerpiece of a half-billion-dollar health education campus that opened last year.

In many other cities, University Hospitals would be the biggest health care system. As it is, the UH system is the second-largest employer in northeast Ohio. Its 2018 revenues topped $4 billion. The hospitals are separated on Euclid by the campus of Case Western Reserve University, which has its own police force.

[..] Cleveland’s hospital zone may be one of the most heavily policed areas in the country. Besides the private police agencies, the city police patrol the area, as does the Greater Cleveland Regional Authority Transit Police Department. City police handle most of the major crimes in the area. Calls for help made from the hospital area through the 911 system still go to city police, although there are times when the city department will contact the private agencies for help. Still, the hospital police forces initiate most of their own arrests and citations, often prompted by a traffic stop, a call from hospital staff or someone acting suspicious.”

Full article, Armstrong D. ProPublica 2020.9.28