April 2 Message to Campus: A New Role for the Health Education Campus

To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:

The Health Education Campus (HEC) stands today because of the power of partnership.

First envisioned as a medical education building just north of the Maltz Performing Arts Center, it became an iconic interprofessional education hub only through collaboration with Cleveland Clinic.

Now that our region faces an unprecedented public health threat, the HEC’s main building is taking on a new, critical role: surge hospital.

As Ohio’s growth in COVID-19 cases continues to accelerate, projections indicate that patient counts will outpace existing hospital capacity within a matter of weeks. In response, health care systems statewide have prepared expansion plans; located just across the street from Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, our shared 477,000-square-foot structure represents an obvious choice.

Leaders from our respective organizations have been communicating as plans evolved; last week, we informed HEC faculty and staff of the upcoming transition. In recent days, Clinic teams began clearing furniture and planters from the atrium and bringing in equipment required to support patient care.

When complete, the modified space will allow full monitoring of up to 1,000 patients as well as administration of needed oxygen and IV medications. Originally intended for more general patient overflow, the HEC now will serve low-acuity patients with COVID-19—that is, those whose condition is not so serious that they need to be on a ventilator or receive significant amounts of oxygen.

We all wish that the state’s stay-at-home order and other mitigation measures would leave every HEC bed empty. But given other communities’ experiences, I feel deep gratitude that the HEC will allow more patients to receive essential care during this crisis.

We will provide additional updates as circumstances warrant; for now, please join me in thanking all of those people staffing hospitals and other health care facilities across our region—they are our true heroes.

Barbara R. Snyder