- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - Hospitals around Cleveland are beginning to prepare for next year’s Republican National Convention and an influx of up to 50,000 visitors.

Chief medical officers at the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and University Hospitals have been holding meetings regularly to get ready for the convention, cleveland.com reported (https://bit.ly/1I1jkpH ) on Tuesday. The convention is scheduled to begin on July 18.

Marek Owca, director of emergency management for MetroHealth, said he expects a “flawless, beautiful convention.”

“But we’ll still be ready for anything less than that,” he said.

Hospitals are planning to give employees disaster training, and emergency medical services must come up with new routes to take patients to hospitals due to the increased crowds and security measures.

MetroHealth is scheduled to complete an expansion of its Critical Care Pavilion weeks before the convention. It expects to have twice its typical intensive care unit capacity.

University Hospitals is scheduled to open the region’s second adult Level 1 trauma center on Dec. 1. MetroHealth operates the other.

Dr. David Perse, CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, said his hospital has already informed the hospital’s employees that they are suspending paid time off during the convention.

“We are very well aware that we are the most proximal major institution to the event,” he said.

Up to 15,000 media members, politicians, and high ranking officials will be visiting the city during the convention, so the hospital must act perfectly, Perse added.

“We have our concern focused on providing service in a quality way … But I guess when you soberly look at the issues, there’s reason to be concerned about the reputation of St. Vincent Charity Hospital” and how that could impact the city’s reputation, he said.

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Information from: cleveland.com, https://www.cleveland.com

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