Lawmakers ask Ohio Medicaid to deem Summa Health 'distressed hospital' amid COVID-19 spike

The Ohio Department of Medicaid received calls from state legislators Dec. 22 pushing it to give a "distressed hospital" designation to Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health as the health system faces an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to

The designation would provide the system's pair of hospitals with additional funding from a $124 million pool. The move would require approval from Maureen Corcoran, MSN, director of Ohio's Medicaid department. 

Cliff Deveny, MD, Summa Health CEO and president, told that the strain is primarily due to a shortage of resources and an uptick in spending to maintain quality of care. Currently, 30 percent of the system's inpatient beds are taken by COVID-19 patients and the system is caring for double the amount of COVID-19 patients compared to other hospitals in the region. 

"It's really a function of the burden of the number of COVID patients," Dr. Deveny said. "They stay about twice as long as a typical patient, so they take much more resources. With everyone having a problem with staffing, we're spending a lot more on bonuses, overtime and temporary labor."

Summa Health's Akron and Barberton, Ohio hospitals see 60 percent of emergency room visits between four counties, according to It also oversees 68 percent of Medicaid inpatient care in the same four counties. 


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