Residents who live and use UTMC want answers

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - People living in south Toledo want answers after financial problems at the University of Toledo Medical Center have been announced with no plan announced to fix them.

Neighbors are worried about a “medical desert.” Will the changes at UTMC, whatever those changes look like, create a void for people of South Toledo who depend on the medical care?

Ron DeCorte is a UTMC patient. He hopes to stay that way.

"I know doctors, I know residents who are here through the program at UT and they're like, 'I'm not going to set up practice there, I'm going someplace else,'" said DeCorte.

UT leaders said Monday the hospital has lost more than $12 million in the first half of fiscal year 2020. Short- and long-term plans will be developed but details of those plans are not being made public.

"Anxiety is probably the overarching word to describe how people are feeling," said Dr. John McSweeney from UTMC.

McSweeney says they're accepting students in programs like psychology, but what will those programs look like in the future?

"The question is whether or not we'll be able to take them, and when they do show up whether there will be a viable program that we can run," said McSweeney.

"So many of the men and women who work on this campus are healers, not just the doctors, not just the nurses. They are healers. It's hard to heal when you don't know what tomorrow or next week is going to bring," said former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

Finkbeiner is leading the group trying to save the hospital, which now is considered a community hospital after losing its level one trauma unit, among other things.

One issue is the 2015 academic affiliation agreement between the College of Medicine and ProMedica. Residents and programs ended up at places like Toledo Hospital, leaving some to wonder if these financial issues at UTMC were inevitable.

“And by the way, all these doctors have moved their service over to Toledo Hospital either in entirely or in part. Duh! We don't have quite as much money coming into this campus. How did that happen? Come on, madame President. Come on Dean Cooper. You let it happen," said Finkbeiner.

13abc once again asked UT President Dr. Sharon Gaber for an on camera comment, but she again declined. A spokeswoman says the president will be available after a decision is made.