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Locals Want to Find New Owners For Affinity Medical Center To Keep It Open In Massillon

Affinity Medical Center closing protested
Tim Rudell
Protest rally on the steps of Affinity Medican Center

Last week the owners of Affinity Medical Center, which was originally Massillon City Hospital, announced it is closing after more a century of continuous operation. Tuesday off-duty nurses, former patients, the mayor and others gathered in protest.

Quorum Health Care said Friday the 156-bed facility is losing money, they can’t find a buyer, and they’re shutting it down March 6th. Off-duty nurses, former patients and officials including the mayor of Massillon and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich gathered in front of the hospital to say they’re going to save it. 

Kucinich was invited to speak because he was involved in keeping several hospitals open in Cleveland.  He suggests a takeover using eminent domain.

“I think the city is a very good position right now to pursue eminent domain because this corporation is abandoning their assets.  They basically have said, this isn’t worth anything anymore.”

Debbie McKinney has been a critical care nurse in Massillon for nearly two decades.

McKinney on the hospital's importance

“We had 24,000 emergency care treatments last year alone.  That has been on a steady incline for the past six years. And there is no other place to receive this care if this hospital closes down.”  

A group of Massillon doctors is also considering buying the hospital. 

Kucinich's other interests
Kuchinich was keeping his attention on the hospital, but reporters were also pressing him on his plans to run for governor. He filed the initial paperwork this week and Fox News, where Kucinich has been a contributor, says he plans to formally announce next week he's joining the crowded Democratic field.

In Massillon, he maintained it's way too early to talk about that.

Kucinich on his political plans

“Well, you know, I’m here. I’m not a candidate at this point.  I’m here as someone who has been involved in health care.”

Kucinich, who is 71, has had a long career in politics. He was mayor of Cleveland in the late 1970s, a state senator in the 1990s, and represented the 10th District of Ohio in Congress from 1997 through 2013.