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3News exclusive: A look inside MetroHealth's new Glick Center hospital

CEO Dr. Akram Boutros gave a first look of the new 11-floor center on main campus to 3News Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins.

CLEVELAND — MetroHealth's new 380-bed, 11-story hospital — the Glick Center — is set to begin accepting patients on Oct. 15.  But Tuesday, CEO Dr. Akram Boutros gave us an exclusive sneak peak at the technologically advanced building.

It's the centerpiece of the MetroHealth transformation that began in 2014, but the reason may surprise you. When Boutros arrived in Cleveland to take over the hospital system, he had no intention of rebuilding the physical building. His focus was redesigning the care model, that is, until the polar vortex hit in January of 2014.

The facility lost 200 rooms after pipes froze and flooding occurred. It also disabled the fire sprinkler system, among other damage, so it became clear that the Metro Towers were beginning to deteriorate rapidly.

But when Boutros began discussing the needs to leaders, he received a response that became his rallying cry. 

"I got a reaction from some folks that was just absolutely both infuriating to me and became the greatest motivation for us doing this," he remembered. "The comments were like, 'The towers were good enough for 'those people.'"

It was an insult that hit him deeply, both personally and professionally, and gave him the determination to make a much bigger difference.

"If you think we need to build an organization good enough for 'these people,' we absolutely will, and we have built the most modern, technologically advanced inpatient facility in all of Ohio," he declared. "And finally, I can say, it's good enough for 'those people.'"

In March of 2017, Metro raised $946 million in hospital revenue bonds so no taxpayer money would be used for the project. Construction on the Glick Center began in 2019, and this year, it and the new Via Sana apartment complex will open. Via Sana, which means "Healthy Way" in Spanish, offers affordable housing to families and contains mixed-use commercial space operated by the hospital for opportunity training and other needs for the Clark-Fulton community. 

On Friday, Oct. 7, join us at 7pm on 3News as we take a much deeper look at not only the physical change of MetroHealth, but how the health care model is changing to address the needs of the community it serves, as well as how that change impacts those in Greater Cleveland and its suburbs.

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